Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Finding Thankful When Children Suffer

The most precious of this life are the innocent; the children. They make us smile, they make us better. It is easy to be thankful for them.

 But what do we do with the suffering of a child who is ill, abused, hungry, abandoned? How can we find thanks in that? 

And what do we do with the past suffering of our self as a child? How can we find thanks in that?

We could hide from the suffering, pretend it doesn’t exist, but that does not make it go away. And so we do our best… We do our best to forgive, to move on, to help the child move on. We reach out to help, we reach out to offer hope, we encourage, we give, we love, we pray… But can we actually find a reason to be thankful?

I hate the evil that causes children to suffer. I get angry! My heart breaks! And I do not pretend to understand why. But I am so very thankful that within every child God has planted some amazing survival resources. Within these tiny people there is a strength to endure, and yes, even to thrive in spite of unbearable circumstances. 

And I am thankful for God’s promise that He can and He will turn everything evil around for good! 

And I am thankful for all of the many children who have survived and are thriving, shining examples of the incredible beauty that grows up from the ugly.

A new friend of mine sent me a poem that moved me to tears.
It so beautifully depicts the precious of children, the suffering of children, and the God given resources within each child:

Hush now… listen.
              You are enchanted like the sunrise. You are one, a precious and miraculous creation.

Your life should be love and light and caring and goodness and learning and growing and happiness and faith and knowing.

This is what you deserve, because you were born, because you are here. You hold every truth. You know all that will someday be forgotten. You were to be kept safe and sound.

But it isn’t always so.

There may be cruelty and hurt, sickness and pain, danger and darkness, hunger, loneliness, fear. But they do not speak your name. They cannot know your courage. They will never see your light. They must not touch your heart. Do not let them inside.

A parent or a relative or a friend or a teacher or a policeman or a president or a god may not be able to heal the sadness. Sometimes nothing and no one else can. And it is not fair.  And it is not your fault.  And it will never be okay.

But you, child, have a great wind beneath you. You will leave the cave of nightmares and monsters. Imagination will be your rocket ship. Hope will be your armor. Treasure them as you would a best friend. 

A warm glow will bathe you. Tender arms will rock you. Kind eyes will guide you. A gentle hand will find yours and it will not let go.

You are strong. Feel it. Believe that you can, and you can. Know that you can, and you will. 

You will change. Change what you will be in this world. And you will change this world. This is your surprise. You are the gift.

You are a shooting star, a wish upon that star, a prayer answered, a dream come true. A wild bird with a broken wing who will someday soar, a frog who will be prince, a delicate flower waiting to open, a raindrop glistening on a leaf, a flawless snowflake swirling in a flawless breeze, a brilliant flash in a stormy sky.

You are the only one of you.  

You are soft color and sweet lullaby, peaceful warmth and long deep breath. You are bursting spirit, beating heart, pulse, spark, fire.

You are the power of the waves, the man on the moon, the fairy in the forest, the “poof “in the spell, the tinkle in the bell. You are supernova.

Feel your strength, your truth, your calm and your sureness. They belong to you, no one else. Nobody can crush, deny, take away or destroy them.

Trust your mighty spirit. Raise it to the heavens. Whisper its secrets. Smile its wonders.

Cherish it as you were meant to be cherished.  Love it as you were meant to be loved. Know it as only you can know. Show it as only you can show. Become. Be.

Child, you are a miracle. You are a whole undiscovered universe. You are Jane, Pedro, Pierre, Mohammed, Jamar, Tanisha, Yusef, Tomas, Lars, Tao, Kumar, Ivan, Paolo, Ailani, Ichiro, Marie, Jules. Be proud.

You are pure magic.

I believe in you. Believe in you.

Things will become real because you will see them. See beauty. See peace. See love. See joy.

See your greatness.

Dream your dream. Write your story. Paint your rainbow. Close your eyes. Open your heart. Lift your chin. Dance your dance. Sing your song.

Sing it home.

You will be heard.  And you will be loved.
~ Pamela Bitterman

Pamela Bitterman is the Award Winning Author of  When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan.

Pamela’s other books include:
Sailing To the Far Horizon -- the author’s own story of life, loss, and survival at sea 

Muzungu -- Pamela’s escapades throughout Kenya

Child, You Are Miracle -- A homily published by World Vision.

To learn more about Pamela, her fascinating life, and her books, visit

Thanks everyone for tuning in.
Thank you Pamela for blessing us with your heart!

Talk to you soon,

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