You broke my heart the other night.
Have I ever seen you and sauntered on, unknowing? Unmoved? How often has my gaze slid over you on the street and slid off just as quickly, banishing you back into the shadows, the alleys, the benches and bars, as my soul curls up tightly afraid to see and so I stop looking?
But the other night grace granted me the gift of seeing you truly, the words of your story, your stories, thousands and millions of your stories coming back to me through the light of the laptop screen, through my memory, reverberating through my veins until the blood pounded and the tears flowed. And now I just wish I could find you, in the flesh, touch you, reach out a gentle finger to your face and whisper to you my soul to your soul that you are beautiful, you are precious, you Matter.
What bruising you have endured is beyond my feeble comprehension; the mind revolts at the images of twisted suffering, refusing to really allow the imagination to delve the depths of hot-iron pain. They have not just battered your body, they have battered your very soul, and it shows in the deadness of your eyes that seem incapable of carrying hope.
You were young once. You are young now, my little sister, the littlest, the weakest, the most vulnerable. You are just a girl-child, your body fresh and forming like a rose unfurling petals, your soul even more, and they have taken you and they beat you and they violate you and it is acid thrown on this tender lush landscape, and everything lies in ruins, a dead place, the vacancy of no-man's land. They tell you you are nothing, you are less than nothing, good for nothing but to be taken and taken and taken again, by force, by stealth, by violence, by evil. They speak to you and punctuate with bruises and blood, and your soul is withering and you believe them.
Little sister, can you hear me? They are liars!
Every man who ever looked at you with lust like a snake, slithering over your body, every man who ever bruised you, every man who violenced the beautiful mystery of you, raped your soul, your mind, this evil mockery of intimacy, every one of them is a liar. You have believed their lies, little sister; they have been ingrained in you by brute force until you bleed them, but they are lies.
Listen to the truth, if you can. Sometimes it is too difficult to listen. If you can't, just hear; allow it to drift by your soul, and maybe if enough people tell it to you you might one day have the strength to listen. You are beautiful. You are precious. You matter. You are worth everything. Do you hear? Your worth is limitless! You are worth diving into the ocean of the evil surrounding you to save, dragging you out, and then you are worth however long it takes to heal you, to bring you back, to help you live and laugh and bloom again. You are worth limitless love to lavish on your wounds, the only ointment that can ever really heal, to rub it on again and again so that your poor bloody heart, a mass of wounds and scars and more wounds, can start, ever slowly, healing. You are worth love and truth and grace being poured out, you bathed in it, day after day, so that your ravaged soul can start to come to life again.
Worth it. You.
The next time I see you, see you with my eyes in the flesh on the street, see you in a newspaper, on a television, in flickering laptop-light, will I have the courage not to look away?