As a writer often I get caught up in my own story…..and then something enchanting happens….someone shares their story with me. I am not only a writer; I am a storyteller. But some days a storyteller needs a story, a glimpse into someone else’s book. To connect, to feel but for a moment that person’s pain. To embrace it, to lift it but for a second, and take it as your own. Just like delving into the nostalgic pages of a long forgotten book, you are reminded every single soul has a story. Not all stories are painted with beautiful things, flowers, and rainbows……no the best stories are the ones that leave a little mystery. If but a moment we would just stop writing, open our ears and quiet our tedious pecking against a keyboard, or tracing letters upon parchment paper, we will hear it. The sound of someone’s heart breaking, the audible cracking as the ice shatters shreds of their pain sending fragments of pain strong enough to debilitate them. We have all had a broken heart, it is more real than any physical pain I have ever endured. No pain reliever can dull it, no remedy to subdue it, so it racks through us like waves of hurt. The ache, it can cripple the strongest person, silence the most outspoken, and break the unbreakable….There are so many causes for a broken heart, some for choosing to love, some for choosing not to, some for having no choice at all. So, my question, if we have all felt it, how can we not offer some insight to those we see hurting? Because just like love, that type of pain is truly indescribable. Childhood is supposed to be about building you up. Learning to spread your wings, helping you build your dreams, preparing you for the future by equipping you with tools you will need, protecting us from the evil so that we can see through pure eyes. What if that gift is stolen? What if you don’t get the choice to see the world how you want to but instead the window to your world is controlled by someone tortured by demons? It happens every single day…abuse. With that abuse a child’s world can be demolished, taking with it their future. They will carry that baggage for the rest of their days, it will follow them into future relationships, tarnish that vulnerable place that is capable of opening up, and you can break a child. Not all children survive their form of abuse, some succumb to the pain and lock themselves away….and they spend their lives broken. The ones who do survive are left with scars so deep that it hurts so bad they cover them with a facade of bravery. Others will not live, they will die, never experiencing innocence, dying at the hand of their abuser, beaten, broken, gone! How terribly sad that someone could do this to a helpless child…..it happens every single day. It breaks my heart, the way glass shatters into those tiny fragmented pieces that embed themselves into you. The sadness and the relief is they are free from their abuser, leaving behind only the memory of them. Those that survive, they are often operating on autopilot. Pretending to fit into the norm of what they are supposed to be, how they are supposed to be like everyone else. However, they cannot be that person that the world seeks out. They harbor a secret, so dark, so haunting that it has become a part of them. What of those? If they are lucky they will reach out, they will find that one person to share their burden with and for once will be loved wholly for who they are, even the broken parts. I believe that the scars will heal with the proper mending, but the memories are still there, just beyond the veil of their cool demeanor. Untapped, trapped, burdened, heavy, and alone in their pain. Perhaps, they feel unworthy of love, from an early age they were taught they were unlovable, so how will they learn to accept love when they have never felt it. Just as there is no cure for heartache, there is no cure for physical abuse…..but love can overcome that. For that person, battling the demons that consume their nightmares, the one who wants only to be understood, who wants to share but is too afraid, too ashamed to let anyone see the broken parts of their heart, their spirit, their soul……for that one I pray for love! Love from someone who will embrace that sadness, carry it in their heart so that for a brief instance they can lighten the load of the deeply troubled child hidden just beneath the surface. To that person I hope for peace, I hope for love unwaivering, and I pray for their strength to share their story. Only in vulnerability can they find freedom, vulnerability is scary but to the one who is deeply wounded it is the only source of relief. May those children and the adults they grow up to be, find that and so much more. May they smile, a true smile one that lights up those shadowy places in their souls that have been buried. May they laugh, a deep uncontrollable laugh to cleanse them and let them know how great happiness feels. And to the one who they finally let in, I pray they never let them go so that they can stop the search and just be who they were meant to be. In honor of that child, the many children out there without a voice, may they find it, no matter how long it takes and may they find the bonds of pain lifted. For those children, and the ones that are living it today, I pray there comes a day that no child suffers at the hands of the ones who are supposed to love them. That hands that would be lifted to hit them, instead tossle their hair, the arms that were used to pin them instead embrace them, and the vile words that spew from the aggressor’s lips turn to encouragement and love. May there be a day when children are given the one thing they were meant to feel….unconditional, unfaltering love! I pray for the day there is no child abuse in this world, but until then, I pray for a cure for the aftermath the abuser leaves behind!