“Choose three words to describe yourself,” I said to her.

She was fifteen and broken, her heart wearing scars and still bleeding out of old wounds. Her world was one I’d never known.

“You don’t know what it’s like,” she’d once told me. “When you go home, there’s someone there for you. I don’t have that.”

And she was right. She didn’t have that. She was orphaned, shuffling from foster home to foster home, trying to find a place to land. Back when most kids were getting ready to start their first days of kindergarten, this little girl had lost her family as a six-year-old.

Now she was fifteen, and the motherless, fatherless years had worn hard on her soul. That afternoon we sat together with paper cups filled with tea and I waited for her to give three adjectives to her name.

“Kind, sad, and confident,” was what she came up with. The word she’d sandwiched in the middle of her more optimistic attributes caught my attention. Not because I didn’t know it, but because this was the first time she’d ever said it. She wore sadness daily, let it spill out in any number of disguised ways whether it be anger, or forced humor, or shut-down silence. But that day she told me—she was sad.

“Why sad?” I asked, sticking a toe into that door she’d cracked open.

Her eyes stared unblinking at the table while she fidgeted with her tea cup. “Because I want what I can’t have.”

“What is it you want?” I dug a little deeper…

Continue reading over at (in)courage >>

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