His bloodcurdling screams echoed throughout the mall. A terrified Middle-Eastern boy, no more than seven or eight years of age, ran frantically through the aisles in an obvious search for his missing parents. It is a frightening situation for any child, but what was even more frightening is the fact that as the child dashed aimlessly among the crowd, the only adult who stopped to assist him was me.
As I rushed to his aid, I totally flashed back to the first time that I was separated from my parents. I was about the same age as this child, but the location was a small department store, no more than 500 square feet. An employee escorted me to the customer service booth and an announcement went out that a little girl wearing a white blouse and a pair of pink shorts had been found and would be waiting in the booth.
With a clearer head, I probably could have walked a few aisles over and found my mother, so I could just imagine the fear that paralyzed this child, misplaced by his parents in this three-story gigantic mall filled with thousands of people. I waited with him and fortunately he knew his father’s cell phone number. I was able to connect with him to reunite the family.
But why was I the only one to come to his aid? Has our society become so self-absorbed that we can’t risk assisting another human being, especially a child? I guess he wasn’t totally ignored, because the child did receive glances from people he passed, who looked as if to say “Poor thing, he must be lost” and “Not my kid, not my problem.” But why wouldn’t you help a child? What could make you close your eyes to such a vulnerable innocence?
Is everyone so overwhelmed with their day-to-day minutia that they can’t possibly take on one more dilemma? It seems automatic pilot is becoming the “new lifestyle,” creating a mundane routine that can only be changed with active consciousness. What’s the reward in allowing the dramas of life to consume you to the point of non-reaction? The reward is quickly becoming lost children dangerously enmeshed in a sea of unconsciousness.
Or was the child’s race the deciding factor that led to him being overlooked and discounted? Does a belief exist that only a minority can help a minority? After all, there was a good chance that the child might not speak the same language. Yet fear is a universal emotion and can be sensed without the benefit of words, much like the emotion of love. And no one can recognize the emotion of love more rapidly than a child. In this case, my caring demeanor allowed the little boy to find some comfort and assurance that he would see his family again.
In closing, my prayers will be continuous in asking for protection of all the children in the world to feel safe and loved without limitation, and for the adults in the villages of these children to have the courage to transcend beyond a comfortable zone to aid another human life.
And just know that I will watch over your children, no matter what.
“Art of Healing” hkoppdelaney @ flickr. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.
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