Earlier today my girl fell hard and hurt her hand. I picked her up, brushing her off while (for just a moment) she melted tenderly into my embrace. But the tears ended as quickly as they’d begun; out slipped that delightfully impish grin, she gave me her patented sly look, and then slowly, but deliberately, she wiped her hand on my pants.
The meaning of the gesture was as clear as it was simple: she wiped her pain off on me.
In that moment, she knew that she is loved.
And while I will cherish the memory as long as I live, other images will always press against its edges. Images of all those girls who have no one to wipe their pain off on. Who will hold them? This world is full of such little girls. In fact, we could say that we live in a world that hates women:
“Too harsh? I don’t think so. Globally, did you know that more than 200 million girls in our world have been aborted or abandoned in what is being called a “gendercide?” Many who survive face neglect, violence and most likely sex trafficking. We might feel detached from this epidemic on this side of the world, but we aren’t. The Super Bowl is the biggest day for sex trafficking in the world and most major cities, including the one closest to me, is a hub for young girls to be sold into sex slavery.
Coupled with the pornography industry, when you consider every second, 28,258 Internet users are viewing nude images of somebody’s daughter, it’s more than disturbing.” (Source)
And it’s not just little girls; it’s little boys, grown men, grown women. Who will they wipe their pain off on?
In many ways, it’s easiest to ignore them. After all, they’re in different countries, different cities, different neighborhoods, or at least different houses. It’s so tempting to fashion blinders out of my love for my own family, using my love for ‘us’ to shield us from the pain that comes from ‘them.’ I’m even tempted to tell myself that in doing so I’m being a good father–that I’m doing everything I can to minimize the suffering of my own.
Easy, but not redemptive.
My prayer, even though it’s a brutally hard one to pray, is that my children will grow up to be the kind of person that others will be able to wipe their pain on. I pray they will develop an outward-focused gaze. I pray they will be a refuge for the little boys and girls who’ve never been embraced without lust, who’ve never been befriended without being used, who’ve been raised by violence, insults, hatred, and rape.
It’s a prayer I hate to pray, but I pray the victims will wipe off their pain on my own precious children.
And that they will know they are loved.