I think it may be related to turning 50. Yes, I am 50, and not afraid to admit it. And it seems to have me looking backward more often than forward.
I often picture myself as that little girl, maybe 7 or 8, with braids and unfortunate buck teeth, my hand swallowed by dad’s strong grip, at a baseball game or in a crowd looking up at magical downtown lights. There wasn’t a moment of fear throughout childhood. I always felt safe. Always.
When I serve at the Nashville Rescue Mission these days, I see more children there than ever before…typically with mothers, not dads. And though their little faces are often beaming as they anticipate a hot breakfast or supper, I wonder…do they ever, even for a moment, feel safe?
In the past 2 years, the number of homeless women and children has increased a 32 percent in Nashville. And our community is trying its best to keep them safe, even amid this economic crisis. The Mission couldn’t play it safe and wait out this awful economy. There was no choice but to go ahead and move forward with a nearly 5 and a half million dollar expansion of the Nashville Rescue Mission’s women and children’s facility. Currently, the entire women’s division has been moved to the downtown campus while the current buildings are being expanded and renovated. When finished, the new facilities will almost double the amount of beds for women and children.
It simply had to be done. And it is accomplished through the strength and faith of believers in the grandest cause of all, to love one another.
It’s true; we’ll never be kids again. But we can cherish and honor our own childhoods, by making sure it’s as safe and pleasant as possible for children who don’t have their own princess bedrooms, or backyard swings, or sense of security.
Let’s extend our father’s strong hand to a little child in the crowd. I bet when that child is 50, they’ll never forget it.