So, you get home from work. Unpack your marking for the car all the while thinking, ‘Why the hell do I cart this back and forth?’. Your children busily tell you about their day. Dinner is started, baths are run, toys picked up, homework is done. You all stop and breathe for the first time all day.
Sitting on the couch your tired five year old snuggles into you. You stroke her hair and hold her tight. And then it happens.
You mind drifts to that kid in your class that you know was hungry today.
The kid in your class who only speaks to herself in a negative voice.
The kid in your class who sobbed by her locker when another student called her a name.
The kid in your class who received a mark that made her felt like she was inadequate.
The kid in your class that you know is currently wandering the streets in the cold.
The kid in your class who no-one understands because his mind works differently for others.
The kid in your class who is riddled with illness too frail to run and play.
The kid in your class who wishes she was invisible.
The kid in your class that is cooking tea and cleaning the house, managing his siblings until his mum finishes work.
You wonder, ‘Will anyone hold that child today like I am holding mine?’.
You lift your sleepy child and tuck them into bed, kissing them in the centre of their forehead. You whisper ‘I love you’.
The house is quiet except for the sound of your husband finishing the dishes in the kitchen. You go to the candle that stands in the centre of the house, draw a match from the box and strike it.
As you light the wick, you hold space for that kid....
send a silent prayer…
make a wish…
whisper words of strength, hope, love, joy.
The candle burns as you settle for the day. You know that maybe there isn’t a lot you can do (we can’t save every child right?), but maybe you can be a light in the darkness even just for awhile.
It helps me. It helps me let go of my worry for that child. It allows me to do something meaningful when I feel helpless. By holding a space for that child, I am symbolically holding them in my heart.
And let’s be honest, wouldn’t you like to think that occasionally someone was holding space for you; thinking of you and offering a silent thought or prayer.
This is my daily ritual.