Now he was coming for a little extra help this summer. DaJuan shyly kissed his Mama goodbye and walked with me down the hall. Mama couldn't have been out the front door, when he started chattering away.
DaJuan told me all about going to see the latest Ninja Turtle movie, including his favorite Turtle's role in the adventures. Then he told me all about playing basketball with Devon and Mark from his class. DaJuan talked more during our one hour session than he had during all of our visits for the whole school year. It was wonderful!
And then he changed the subject again. Matter-of-factly, and amazingly full of innocence, DaJuan told me about the day no one, not even the Ninja Turtles, could save he and his brother.
I had no words.
DaJuan went on to describe the atrocity of how his younger brother had been brutally burned. Now he doesn't have the ends of his fingers, and his skin is all different colors.
I nearly gagged from the painful and graphic images he painted. And then he ripped my heart out.
"I told my brother to run, to get away. I ran away, but my brother didn't run fast enough."
Here's something else that astonished me. DaJuan wasn't looking for sympathy, or to stun me with the abuse he and his brother had suffered. He wasn't asking for anything, he was giving me something. DaJuan was giving the precious gift of his trust by telling me his story. What do I possibly have to offer him?
Dear Reader, I don't know the answers to those hard questions. I don't understand how innocents could be so tormented. I do know pain and torment come in many forms.
Or, I can choose to tenaciously put my hope in the Great Physician who came to seek, save, and restore. I can choose to believe the One who promised, "Great blessings belong to those who are sad now.God will comfort them." (Matthew 5:4 ERV)
Dear Reader, how do you process the pain of others in your world? Are you as brave and trusting as DaJuan when it comes to sharing your own challenges? I pray you find comfort in the One who loved you first and loves you most, however pain touches your world.
Here's one of my favorite comforting passages:
"Yet I was the one who taught Israel to walk. I took my people up in my arms,but they did not acknowledge that I took care of them. I drew them to me with affection and love. I picked them up and held them to my cheek; I bent down to them and fed them." (Hosea 11:3-4 GNT)