I Saw the Hurt on Her Face
By Ramona Seeley of Leeton, MO, USA
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Divine Parent; for God makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. —Matthew 5:43–45 NRSV, adapted
David was four years old when his mother packed his suitcase, drove him to the local hospital, sent him up the steps alone, and drove off. Her current husband did not want David, and she felt compelled to give in to his wishes. He “allowed” her to keep David’s baby brother.
I still imagine the life David had, going from one foster home to another—never feeling wanted or cared for. My heart still cries.
We became friends with David when he was sixteen. He was living in a camp for troubled teens in northern Missouri. We provided emergency foster care for teens, and David’s caseworker asked us to take David for an extended time. We agreed, and David became part of our family. Our youngest son was still living at home, and he and David got along fine. David was a shy, compliant boy recovering from a history of drug abuse. He also loved music and kept his guitar with him.
We got David a bicycle after he was with us for a while, and he used it responsibly. While riding his bike after school one day, he had an accident and ruptured his spleen. We rushed him to the hospital.
I did not realize until then that hospitals always report any accidents to the biological parents. When I went back to the hospital that evening, his mother was there. To my surprise I realized she was also the mother of two of the children in my special needs classroom at school. It would have been so easy to condemn her, but I saw the look on her face and realized how much she was hurting. I felt it was not my place to judge, only to love.
Prayer for Peace
Loving God, help us love as you love. When we would judge, help us find reasons to forgive. Help us remember we have not walked in others’ shoes. Help us walk together for peace.
Spiritual Practice: Healing and Reconciliation
Gather a small mound of stones. Meditate on the stones as symbols of differences and destructive acts that continue to separate and wound the human family. Name and anoint each “stone wound” with a drop of water or scented oil. Offer them to God in prayer for healing and reconciliation.
Today, God, I will remember your unconditional love and know I can do no less.