On Sunday, I went with the Project Downtown people to a residential shelter for abused kids. Even as I feel the emotions I experienced on meeting these precious children, I am finding it hard to put it into words.
The young men I mentioned from yesterday's post put on a professional level children's theatre show for the kids (this week it was pirates...they do a different show for each visit, as you can see in video hotlink above.) We did a treasure hunt, we played Duck, Duck, Goose, we sang. We hugged children and snuggled small babies. Some of the children had particular favourites among the adults present, some were outgoing, some appeared baffled and lost, their small eyes deep with pain and sadness. Some played, some watched. Some shared their stories in unexpected ways (we are not allowed to ask about their experiences, but if they talk, we listen.)
I went for two hours and stayed for four. I am haunted by these children, honored by their trust in the face of such much pain, awestruck by their ability to laugh and that laughter's testimony to the strength of the human spirit.
I watched the young men performing for these kids. These young men who belong to a faith that so much of the world has written off as evil. Pouring their hearts and souls into a few hours of distraction for some kids in need. Giving out jokes and hugs and goody bags with equal grace and love. Down on the floor among the children, never pausing for a moment to wonder if snuggling a baby makes them any less manly.
I am proud to be among this group of people. Humbled by the innocent trust of the children I got to know. Grateful for every tiny hand that reached out to hold mine, or small set of arms that wrapped around my neck today. Anxious to return in two weeks to once again see these sweet children.
G-d is indeed blessing my life. Who would have thought that a prayer uttered on a stormy day while writing on a computer in my car in a McDonald's parking lot could return so much?