World of Hurt
by Linda Slaton


When someone tells you that the biggest blessing of her childhood was the day her mother died, you know her story is dark. You know the pain runs deep. That’s the gist of one story we heard last night at a prison near Little Rock. 

In Embracing Purpose On the Inside and Beyond, lesson 1, everyone shares her family story. In a flash we leaders understand why our prisons are packed to overflowing. Ah, so that’s why she turned to drugs at 9. To sex and crime and violence. She knew nothing else. 

“If only I’d had parents who cared…” 

“That’s when I stuck a needle in my arm and got locked up. Again…”

“All I wanted was Daddy’s attention…” 

“A turning point came when I began to take drugs… My life went in a new direction…” 

“I bought myself a heart necklace that said, ‘I love you,’ and told everyone my daddy gave it to me…” 

Heart-wrenching scenes played out on repeat. Different words, different narrator, same plot. 

What exactly do we do with that? I felt stunned into silence yet wanted to process aloud for two hours with the other leaders. To sit in the moment and ponder a world that’s broken. Beyond repair? No. We have a Redeemer who redeems, a Lover-Helper-Savior, but to jump there prematurely feels utterly wrong. To grieve seems the best response, the only response right now.

We live in a world of hurt. And it’s awful.