Something happened in Detroit this past week that still has me reeling.
Two children were found murdered in a freezer. They had been put there two years ago. By their mother.
It’s almost impossible to believe, right? Certainly difficult to comprehend. I literally wept for these children and their family (they have siblings who have gone through unspeakable trauma).
A couple days ago, I read an article that Mitch Albom wrote about the story. It was a sobering read for sure, but I could not agree with him more. You can read his article here: http://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/mitch-albom/2015/03/29/kids-freezer-community/70599022/
There is an obvious tragedy in this situation. Two children were murdered. Two others have been traumatized beyond belief. Those things are appalling, and grieving. But here is the other tragedy:
No one knew.
And that is where we are failing. We (society) are failing at a community level. As Mitch said, how were these children missing for two years without anyone raising an eyebrow? Asking a question? Demanding to see them?
Because we live in a culture of “don’t ask." Our human interaction is lessening not growing, and even when we do make eye contact, the message is clear: Don’t butt in. It’s not your business.
To be sure, this is not everyone. There are many good people fighting the good fight, standing up for children, getting their hands dirty, and “butting in" where they are told not to.
But there are not nearly enough of us doing that. If there were, children would not go missing, unnoticed, for several months at a time.
In situations like this, it is easy to ask where is God. Why didn’t He help those children? Rescue them? Answer their cries for help?
I don’t claim to know the ways of God. But here’s what I do know.
Jesus says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself."
How many of us would ignore our own signs of distress? If we were crying, bleeding, beaten, afraid? We wouldn’t. We would tend to the wounds, get involved, get help. So if we love our neighbors as ourselves, shouldn’t they get the same attention? Shouldn’t they get our kind hands of help, of empathy? Shouldn’t we look and really see them, not ignore? Shouldn’t we ask questions about if they are really ok?
What is stopping you from really seeing and loving? Fear? No time? I’m issuing this challenge to myself as much as anyone. I want to really see people. To offer a kind word, a hand, a concerned question. To the extent that I (we) don’t, we are part of the problem. We are fueling a society of disconnect that is failing children. Not every child you look at is being abused. But every child could use a smile, an encouraging word, or a protective hand.
Let us be people who really see each other.