I don’t have children of my own, but I’ve had the honor, delight, and quite frankly eye-opening experience of working with the children’s ministry at my church over the past year. It has been an area that God has grown in my immensely, and a great joy.
That being said, the hardest part about that job is not herding the cats – I mean, children – or keeping them on the right discussion or getting them to share supplies. The hardest part in volunteering in kid’s church has been getting to know the children and to hear their grievances.
A pet that’s gone missing. A grandparent that is struggling with his or her health. No friends at school.
But the worst one I’ve had to deal with in my short time is the separation and divorce of parents, and its effect on the children.
Oh. My. Goodness. The pain.
I’m not here to bash the parents. I just want it to be known from one volunteer’s perspective that the damage it does to these young children is deep, and that it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
One young lady I talked to recently seemed distant and uninterested in our activities. Sensing that something was wrong, I stopped trying to get her to join in and instead knelt beside her and asked her what was wrong.
Watching a seven or eight year old girl trying not cry because she doesn’t want anyone to know how much pain she is in is unbearable. Listening to her describe the ache inside her because of how far away one parent is and how infrequently she gets to see that parent? Heart-breaking.
I must admit, I cried while she was talking to me, though I did my best not to break down in an all-out blubbering sob.
I’d like to say I had the right words to make her feel better, but I didn’t. And I knew, looking at the pain in her eyes, that there weren’t any words. This was a pain too deep to be fixed by mere words. Furthermore, this is a pain too deep for anyone but God to fix.
I did what I could, as did our children’s director. But I won’t see that young girl again. All I can do now is pray for her, and her family.
But maybe that is what God calls us to do sometimes. Simply grieve with the grieving, and pray for peace and healing someday. Sometimes there are no words to fix the issue. Sometimes there isn’t anything to be done, but to empathize and weep with the one grieving. And then pray, because we have the smallest strength to do that for the one that is experiencing grief.
So little one with the sad eyes and the broken heart – my heart grieves for you, and I am praying for you.