Lost Child, Never Forgotten
Am I lost or just less found? C.S. Lewis
1. unable to find one's way; not knowing one's whereabouts
2. denoting something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered
I met Sweet Ruth as a teenager finding her way through life as the middle child in a large family. Her demeanor always struck me as tender, sweet, funny, generous in spirit and quite the capable caregiver. Before long, she was babysitting our children— even for long overnight weekends and occasional date nights. I trusted her implicitly. I still do.
Her name gave her away. My Dad’s favorite candy bar was always ‘Baby Ruth’ so the name association for me was strong: obviously, ‘Sweet’ Ruth. One of my first babysitting jobs in the church nursery was for a missionary kid named Ruthie, a toddler, with white blonde hair and the cutest actions— her name, a bonus. The biblical character Ruth is loyalty personified as daughter-in-law to Naomi— and just like my baby dolls were named Sadie; Little Bird had a baby doll named Ruth. So, for me, Sweet Ruth was easy to love— just by her given name alone!
The real meaning behind the name Ruth is: Friend; compassion. This is so fitting for my Compassionate Friend. She cares for others beautifully— friendly, loyal, compassionate; true.
We moved away and lost touch. Sweet Ruth grew up, got married and we found each other again on social media platforms. I had another baby, walked through some dark valleys on my way to healing and began to write Sadie Speaks. There, we found more than an old acquaintance— we found a camaraderie around our abusive histories. We found a space where we could be honest with ourselves to one another. We found we shared the notoriety of being the ‘1’ in the statistics. 1 in 3 this abuse; 1 in 4 even-worse-than-this ‘that’ abuse.
In some ways, we found we shared the feeling so common to this statistical community of ‘1’s’ : feeling lost.
When one has been treated unspeakably, it is easy to harbor feelings of great confusion, not knowing where one is or where-the-heck they're going, the inability to find your way, and most importantly — the very correct feeling that something has been taken away that cannot be recovered. Because, it has. Abuse robs you — and you lose. There is great loss.
It’s easy to feel lost.
The byline of my site is this: Finding Your Voice After Abuse. Sweet Ruth had never written before. She had barely spoken about the great tragedies she had faced growing up. Illness forced her into a quiet where she had to sit with her thoughts and begin to sort out her past. One afternoon, in my inbox, I heard her voice for the first time—with pen on paper— and it was profound, full of hope and compassionate to the lost child, within.
This poem was born in her. It juxtaposes all the awful injustices with the great compassion of our God. It echoes clearly the reason so many survivors feel tired, having carried burdens for miles that were heavy. Simply, too heavy. And her writing ends in hope. She found her voice.
The beauty of healing is in the transformation: lost to found, darkness to light, scared to brave, tired weariness to rest and trapped in silence to the freedom of voice.
C.S. Lewis says, ‘Am I lost or just less found?’ Every step in our healing draws us closer to being found whole, restored, the pain recovered with joy and gaining that deep sense of ‘found’— all my pain noticed by a good God and held by Him, quieted by Him, carried by Him and deeply loved by Him. I want to be more found by Him. Perhaps you do, too. Like Sweet Ruth, may you experience the amazing grace that reminds us that though I once was lost, now I am found.
Sweet Ruth, thank you for sharing your voice. You are not forgotten. May your memory be eternal.
Lost child , Never Forgotten
Lost child in darkness,
Where are you, lost child?
What is that pain that burdens you so?
Give it to God and let it go
Lost child, why are you scared?
Why do you cry and think no one hears?
Lost child, I love you so.
Lost child, who hurt you?
Don’t be scared
I am holding you close, lost child.
Lost child, why so tired?
Was it because you walked a thousand miles?
Not in measurement, but in burdens
A thousand miles of things that children should not carry.
Lost child, come take rest in Me
Lost child, why do you run and hide?
I see you are there
And My Arms are open so wide
I want you to come
I want you to stay
Lost child, you are so brave
Lost child, I see that pain
I see what others have done to you
I see the pain runs deep as can be
I see you, my dear sweet child
You are not lost,
but you have been found.
Ruthie Bee's Story and Poem: Used with Permission.
Writing, journaling, and creative writing is well-known, well-researched and well-documented to aid in healing from child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse, ptsd and life's hardships. It is a catalyst to 'feel' and that feeling is expressed in writing. Linked here is an article with 17 writing prompts helpful for recovery. It was also suggested to me to occasionally write with your non-dominant hand to engage both sides of your brain. Write. Find Your Voice.