This morning I sat weeping for a twelve year old girl. It was in the Spring of 1970 when she ran away from home with an eighteen year old boy from her neighborhood. They put out their thumbs and within a few hours a trucker picked them up taking them all the way to Atlanta, GA. The lights were bright on the main strip in Atlanta that night. There were hippies hanging out and lots of deals going on. As it got darker the young man realized they had no where to sleep and he could not take care of his under age companion. They walked into a Krystal got some cheap burgers and sat down. Then he looked at her and said "I'll be right back" and walked out the door. I can't tell you how she felt as feelings had long since ceased to exist for her. She had learned a few years ago to keep them tucked away when her perpetrator lured her into a tree house and took her most private precious gift away. Running was easier than feeling it seemed. When he walked back in with two older men she smiled relieved. They all sat down and had small talk for a few minutes. Then Frank, the new friend sitting next to her pulled some bills out of his wallet and handed them to the young man who stuffed them in his pocket and casually walked out the door.
For three days she was with them. They introduced her to LSD and their friends in the crash pad where they lived and she smoked pot for the first time. Her body looked older then twelve. She was blond and beautiful to the men hanging out at the apartment who had their way with her on the big water bed in the living room that served as a couch. For years she felt invisible forgotten and forsaken but this time her father had not forgotten her. He hired a private investigator who worked with the authorities to find her. Frank had been released a few weeks before from federal prison and was notified by his parole officer that he was harboring a minor. That was all it took for him to load her up in a car and take her to her Daddy who was anxiously awaiting her arrival a few miles away.
I sat weeping for that little girl this morning because the little girl was me. Those tears had been trapped for 48 years and in love they were released. There was something so sacred about them, an offering of healing an offering of love and the fragrant aroma of peace flooded my soul. It was as if I were weeping for myriads of women and little girls lost in a forest of pain not knowing the way out. But there is a light that shines into the darkness gradually illuminating the path. One breath at a time I plant my feet one in front of the other keeping my eyes fixed on the light in front of me finding my way out of the woods into the arms of LOVE. It was like the earth shook when I realized with such clarity that my Daddy did not forsake me. He moved heaven and earth to find me and bring me back home; then healing tears of gratitude filled my cup running it over with forgiveness into the sea of grace.
For years the issue of sex trafficking has been moving into the forefront of our culture. Many like myself have been waiting for decades to be able to say Me Too OUT LOUD. Those of us lifted up by love from the depths of that pit now cheer you on, we lift your arms in prayer when the weight of the pain seems too heavy to bear. We take your tear soaked garments with you to the altar of peace and watch beauty ascend out of the ashes to change the world. We offer you shelter from the storm and time to heal never giving up on who you are - your voice speaks truth filled Hope, YOUR LIFE is a brilliant light that pierces the darkest of evils in this broken world and declares I AM FREE! Keep speaking, SHOUT IT if you have to but NEVER GIVE UP. You are worth it ALL.
by Mimi Nikkel, Love's Arm Founding Director