I’m a terrible dinner guest.
Invite me to your house, sit with me around a table, and ask me how my day was. I will tell stories that turn you off your meal.
I will talk about the young mother who was tricked into following a trafficker into China, then tortured and raped until she complied with their demand that she “marry” a stranger.
I will tell the story of the 2 boys who were living with Blue Dragon but then enticed away to join a criminal gang, which lends money and sells drugs, and trains the boys to be killers at their beck and call.
I will describe the horrors of child sexual abuse that we see every day, and the damage it does to its victims – girls and boys who look happy and cheerful on the outside, but inside live with shame and guilt and fear.
My dinner conversation leaves much to be desired.
So the question naturally arises: If my work is so dark, and if the situations Blue Dragon faces daily are so dire, why keep doing it?
It’s a fair question and one I ask myself from time to time, and I have an answer.
Here’s why: Because we might start in darkness, but we finish in daylight. The situations we see are terrible; the children we meet have been homeless, abused, exploited and abandoned, but that’s not the whole story.
Our work is to see people through that crisis, and make it to safety. Even then, we keep going: right now we have 80 young people in college and university, plus countless more in school, training, jobs, shelters, or reunited with their families.
In fact, the contrast between how the children are when we meet them and how they are months later can be so stark that even something as simple as going to school, or taking part in a dance class, can appear as a monumental achievement.
A line in a U2 song says: “Midnight is where the day begins.” There’s no new day without getting past midnight.
It’s easy to get so caught up in the stories of horror and suffering that we forget that there’s also great wonder in the world. So if you do invite me to dinner, and I start talking about the sorrows I have seen that day, give me a nudge and remind me to talk about the joys as well.
Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation rescues kids in crisis.