She wore sunglasses indoors, masking her swollen eyes. Her dirty hair was matted around her face, and she chewed on the stray pieces that hung near her mouth.
A tiny voice offered me a “hello” as she slipped into the chair beside me. Three other children had sat at the table with me that morning, but something about this girl pulled at my heart in a way that made my insides melt and my eyes fight to hold in tears. I just so wanted to hold her, to somehow cradle her brokenness, and to tell her that she was going to be okay.
The chaplain of the children’s home had assigned the Bible story that our group of volunteers was to read one-on-one with each child that filed into the cafeteria that morning—“Jesus Calms the Storm.”
One look at this nine-year-old foster girl, and there was no guessing that her heart was a storm. And truth is, mine was too. My dad had died just three and a half weeks earlier, and I was still bleeding inside. (I’m just a little better at keeping a tidy exterior than the little girl with slouched shoulders and sunglasses.)