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Modern Day Leper

Fair-haired maiden

Eyes of innocence search for a friendly face among the crowd

No one in the massive throng looks her way

They do a sidestep dance in order to avoid her touch

No one dares to even glance in her direction

Fear of making contact keeps eyes downcast

Modern day leper

 

Can you look past the threadbare garments?

Can you see past the unkempt locks?

What is it you see?

 

She is you

She is me

She is a reflection of the Father

A child that lost her way

 

Cast aside to find her way in the dark streets

Pangs of hunger drive her to press on

Hopelessness looms casting its ugly shadow

Depression tags along for the ride

The search continues to find a place of rest

Doors shut tight to keep out the unwanted

Modern day leper

 

Do you dare look into those eyes?

Can you turn away once you have?

What is it you see?

 

She catches a brief glimpse of hope

An acknowledgement of her presence

Words of compassion seem strange to her ear

A random act of kindness touches her soul

There are so many yet to reach

So many gems yet to uncover

Modern day treasure

 

Are you ready to put words to action?

Do you accept the challenge?

What is it you see?

 

She is you

She is me

She is a reflection of the Father

A child that is finding her way

 

©2002 Colleen A. Errickson

Jennifer (if that was her real name)

Years ago a friend and I spent a beautiful sunny Saturday in Philadelphia.  It was one of those days in the city when there is a buzz in the air.  People filled the sidewalks; crosswalks became dueling ground between pedestrian and cabbie.

The Reading Terminal Market was overflowing with locals and tourists alike.  Each one looking for a bargain, which stand had the cheapest bananas, which had the most exotic fruit, and where was the best place to grab a bite to eat?  I love that place!  It is a melting pot of cultures and languages.  Down each new aisle is sensory overload.  Your nose is met with new aromas, your eyes bombarded by colorful and shiny objects from all around the world.  Where else can you enjoy pizza, enchiladas, jerk chicken, lamb kebabs, or dairy fresh ice cream all under one roof? 

After a Middle Eastern inspired lunch and some Lancaster made ice cream we headed to walk off all those fabulous and well worth it calories.  No sooner had we stepped on to Market Street, we were approached by a young girl asking for a dollar.  She couldn’t have been more than 17 years old yet aged by her time on the streets.  Blonde hair that I’m sure once glistened in the sun now was dim.  Dull blue eyes starred at us as we spoke to her. 

There was a look of unbelief on this girl’s face; it was as if she couldn’t believe someone was taking time to talk to her.  A few questions later we found out that she needed money in order to stay at the “safe” shelter.  It was $4.00 for the night.  She was also trying to get enough money together to buy a bus ticket in order to go home.  There was genuineness about her; she looked lost and scared among the throngs of people passing us.  I couldn’t help but dig deep into my wallet.  Then there was this God moment where we were able to pray with her, speak life to her, and hug her.   

She often comes to mind and I pray for her.  I wonder if she ever made it home, if she was able to reconcile with her parents, if she is still on the streets, or even worse.  Could she now be the property of a pimp who passes her around to any paying customer?  Does she live in consent fear of what the night will bring?  If only I knew then what I know now.

How many “invisible” people never reach our radar because they are hidden in plain sight? How often in our day to day lives do we cross paths with people that could be potential victims or are victims of trafficking?  Are we even looking?

Stolen

Can anyone look into the darkness of modern slavery and human trafficking, really look at the depth of the horror, and not be changed? I cannot remain silent and turn a blind eye to the terror over 27 million people face each day.  This blog is dedicated to them, to those who have had their freedom, lives, and voices stolen.

Ok so you are saying to yourself, “what can a blog do?”  Even if one person, just one person reads this and cannot be silent about the issue then it is worth it.  Because you see, that person has influence in the lives of those I will never reach.  They in turn will pass on the passion, pass on the anger of the situation, and stir others into action.  It becomes an avalanche of advocacy and abolition!

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