I have not written in many months, having retreated into silence. This is where I go when I am absolutely intrigued, or stunned, even baffled, by the complexity of human conditions. Bombarded by recent media flashes of social devastation, silence is comforting when my own perspective is confused, unclear. Uncertain about the state of the world. Silence is self-soothing when I am distressed or fearful.
Surviving Ferguson. Michael Brown. Having a son, I simply will not allow myself to touch this exquisite pain. The sudden, senseless, and tragic loss of young life, my baby boy. No amount of blaming softens such a vicious blow to the core of a parent’s very being, and desire to keep a child safe. Living under the Taliban. The youngest Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. Would I allow my own daughter to continue her insistent global campaign to make education available to girl children around the world, while she recovers from a murderous assassination attempt by a Taliban gunman? Would I support the sacrifice of her childhood to empower so many others? Unimaginable. Finding Relisha Rudd. Taken from an emergency homeless shelter by a janitor. The reoccurring nightmare of looking for an 8 year old, praying for her life, perhaps forever. When family chaos and poverty results in a young child being lost. How could my life go on in the glare of public grief and anger?
Next week, the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF), a former orphanage, will celebrate 100 years of addressing desperate human circumstances. Children without parents. Youth without role models. Women fleeing abusive mates. Families without homes or sufficient food. Mental illness, addiction, discrimination, violence and death. This is the mission focus.
More importantly, however, we will celebrate the sheer human resiliency we observe and encourage. Healing through the power of human connection. Four African American adolescent males will chronicle the betrayals they have experienced and their emerging hope, in a short film entitled Fighting for a Good Life. Amazing. They successfully reframe both the personal battleground and the goal. They display their vulnerability, the source of their newfound courage. And I will narrate their stories that night. Inspired now. Silent no more.