Warren County Children’s Shelter Offers Hope
Dear Mrs. Cindy,
I don’t know if you still work at the Warren County Children’s Shelter, or if you even still do this work anymore, but somehow, someway, I hope this letter finds you. I would assume in the work that you do there are ample opportunities to plant seeds of hope and few chances to see them blossom.
Today, I am twenty-four years old. Twenty years ago, I met you. I don’t blame you if you don’t remember me. It was a lifetime ago, and yet, for me it seems like yesterday. I was four years old when I met you, when the world as I knew it spiraled out of control; my world was filled with domestic violence, drugs, sexual abuse, physical abuse, monsters in the closet and things that go bump in the night… and then there was you.
Today, I know the power of what you do. Today, I realize without a doubt that there is always hope. You and the other people at the shelter taught me that. I remember you. Let me see if I can help you remember me? I had long, blonde, spiral curls that should have been fluffy, beautiful and light, but instead they were matted, dirty and dry. I had bruises all over my body from the punches thrown by my stepfather and cigarette burns from my mother’s addiction. But mostly, I think you will remember me because on my belly was a homemade tattoo which read, “For Sale!” I remember because when you touched it, you cried and I felt your compassion.
Today is my birthday and I am grateful. I am grateful that at the age of four, strangers in a place called the Warren County Children’s Shelter taught me that there is always hope. It took a while, but today, I know you were right and I am grateful.
You told me a story long ago when I was too afraid to close my eyes and go to sleep, too afraid that the monsters would steal me away, or even worse, that I would have to return to where I once was. You probably don’t even remember. Here’s your story:
“Did you know that every little girl and boy is a precious gift from God? And every time a little girl is born, you can hear angels sing in heaven. God knew his little girls would need extra love and protection so He assigned each of them an angel. Usually, they don’t even know that they are there. But in the darkness, when little girls are scared, when things go bump in the night and when the monsters seem bigger than life, if you are really, really quiet, you will hear your angel whisper comfort in your ear and if you are really, really still, you can feel her feathers in her wings and you will know she is there.”
Thank you. My angel has met me many times in the darkness of my life since then.
Today, I tell that story to my own little girl. Even now when I am afraid, I rest on angel wings. When I sneeze, I think of angel wings tickling my nose and I think of you. I still bear the scars of yesterday and struggle to forget how my mother’s addiction was so great that she had to sell me over and over and over again. I may still have “For Sale!” tattooed on my belly, but because of you I know that I am not an object to be sold or a bargaining piece for tomorrow’s fix. I am a precious gift from God. I am a precious treasure filled with hope and possibilities and most of all, I AM LOVED!
Twenty years later, I am grateful. I am grateful for the monsters in my closet and things that go bump in the night. For they have made me who I am today. Today, I am grateful for angels that hold me close and for you.
“Never let it be said that a few caring people cannot change the world. For indeed, that is all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead