by Ken Willers
The Wounded Child sinks with tears behind the other forgotten refuse outside. His eyes are heavy and his heart is empty --all he feels is fear--so he must hide. If he speaks, if he stands, will he be heard or seen? Out of fear of rejection he stays slouched down but he is grounded with the earth.
At the fence of the soul stands a man--content with his success as he looks over his shoulder at the glory he has made for himself. Yet, he stands at the fence looking into the darkness that he knows possesses something he needs to hold. He calls out--no response. Voices from within the house call him back to his world, but he struggles he refuses to go back into the house just yet. He must find what he is lacking. He stands and ponders the darkness--he quiets the noises within him and he begins to hear a whine--a sigh. Soft, yet, distinct--there's something out there in the darkness. He calls out again--the sound of silence returns.
He wanders back into the house--the wounded Child slouches closer to the ground and is almost absorbed by the grass. They both sleep--content in their own worlds and yet afraid and curious of the other they don't know how to enter or attain.
In the morning the man brings a saw, a hinge and a latch. He dismantle part of the fence and makes a gate. The gate he builds swings in two directions and can be locked in position only if latched. He leaves the latch open. Standing by the gate he peers again into the darkness--he wonders what calls to him to go--he wants to calls out--but he thinks his volume may frighten away what's out there. He opens the gate and walks out.
He immediately encounters weeds, high grass, there is mud and muck--'how can anything live out here' he thinks. Slowly and carefully he treads--he hears the whine and the sign again and the farther he goes the thicker the weeds, the grass, the mud and the muck. He stumbles upon a disregarded memory and when he looks down to pick it up he begins to see an array of children's toys tossed about, ruined and beaten by weather and neglect.
As he picks up a stuffed bear he notices the mouth has been ripped off and its fur has been frayed. The longer he gazes at it the easier he recognizes it as his own. The Child is watching from a distance. This bear was taken away from him because he was told he was too old to pay with such toys. He was hurt and confused and he couldn't speak--no one ever knew how much that Bear meant to him, then, The man started to cry as he recalled the painful memory.
Off to the left, turned on its side, was his bike. Once green, now faded rusty yellow. The pedals were missing and the tires flat. He remembered how he and his friends would ride around for hours feeling so free. When the bike broke he asked that it be fixed--it never was. Would he ever feel free like that again--he thought.
He started to pick up clothing and records that he used to have, that one day he found missing from his room and nothing was ever said. And yet, he realized he lost track of all these things as he grew older because what other people wanted him to be was more important. But now, the longer he stood and looked around the more he noticed the more he remembered things from his childhood that had been disregarded and forgotten: a card he once made, a box filled with old pictures and gifts lying out by the trash.
The man went around with the box and collected all the items he could find. He held them to his heart and felt stronger at least that his memory was coming back. After he collected all the disregarded pieces of his childhood he went back through the gate and into his house and closed the door. He had not seen the Child in the darkness. He went through each item one at a time--he saw their broken pieces, their dirty parts, their ripped edges and yet, he remembered and could still see their beauty through their ugliness.
When he finished he stood at the window and looked out over the fence. The Child could see him in the distance through the darkness. The man then said to the darkness--"Tomorrow I will search again. . ."
Reflection by Ken Willers
We are not victims of our past we are creators of our future. We must hold our experience as sacred and in doing so we become compassionate leaders, educators and 'healers' to those who lives we touch.