HOW IT ALL BEGAN | PART 1
I remember the helpless and horrified feelings rush through me as I read her story: an eleven-year-old girl committed suicide with a coconut rope in a small, poor village in the Philippines.
I wondered what could possibly drive a young girl to such desperate, tragic measures. As I continued to read, I learned that the thing which pushed her over the edge was the lack of funds she needed for schooling. Two US dollars was the one thing standing in the way of her education – and she didn’t have it. Living with the burden of lack was too much to bear, so she put an end to her pain inside her poor little house – all alone at the end of a rope.
Her story and the injustice she experience moved me. Questions spun in my head: “How could this be? What if she was my child?” Her life was just as valuable as my children. The difference was she was born in a difficult, impoverished situation – and she ran out of hope.
My immediate reaction upon learning of this tragedy was an impulse to blame someone. I wanted to shake my fist at the sky and scream, “Why didn’t You do something? Where were You?” But almost as instantly as I sent my frustrations to the heavens, an answer boomeranged back to me as an impassioned plea and an invitation to care, matching my sadness saying, “Where were we?”
I was reminded: human suffering in this earthly reality is our responsibility. As a person who views the world through the lense of Faith, I believe we are called to be salt and light, and to bear the image of God – to care for others as He does and to do what He would do. In the same way, those who do not share a faith-based worldview, the human heart calls to us and simply says, “To be human is to care, to love, and to help our fellow man, woman or child no matter what race, religion, or state in life.”
The story of a young, impoverished girl who ends her life pulls on the heart of humanity. It tells us that something is tragically wrong, and urges us to do something.
Her story stayed alive in my soul even as a few years passed. I would consistently reflect on it and share it with others from time to time. As I did, I could not help but notice the emotive reaction inside my heart that moved water to my eyes. I knew I needed to know more. I needed to respond – to do something – but I just didn’t know where to begin…