Today in the New York Times there is an article on the front page about an orphaned girl in Sierra Leone who has lost her entire family to Ebola.
The little girl, affectionately known as “Sweetie Sweetie” because no one is sure of her real name, is about four years old. On a recent day she asked a visitor to the group home where she now lives, “Do you want me?”
She really means it. She really wants to know.
To think that I – that we – share this planet with a child in this situation is beyond my understanding. To think that, in my very community, there are others whose lives are critically broken is heartbreaking. To know that there are members of my extended family and friends who are hurting, lost and afraid is wrenching. To know that there are people under my own roof who feel uncertain and alone is agonizing. And yet they are there.
“Do you want me?” is a question that cuts through the noise and confusion and gets to the deepest heart of the matter. We all need to know the answer. And even when we know – in our minds – that we are wanted, we may doubt that truth in our hearts. It is reassurance we seek even though we may be afraid, especially as adults, to ask for it.
For most of us, there is very little we can do for Sweetie Sweetie. But that person in your neighborhood, those people you call family and friends, and those strange human beings with whom you share a home, they are all looking for an answer. They are your Sweetie Sweetie
Reassure them. Reassure the world.