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Can my throat not get choked up when a little child is being taunted because she is “poor”, because her clothes are not of the acceptable brand, or because her lunch is not full of the acceptable goodies, but is an apple and a plastic wrapped sandwich?

How can I not have tears when that same little child gets home from school and is wrapped into the arms of her loving mother as she tearfully tells “mama” about the “mean” classmates who make fun of her, won’t sit beside her at lunch, or play with her at recess time?

How can I be blasé concerning the hardness and contempt shown toward that little child, hardness and contempt being words that are still not even part of the child’s vocabulary?

How can I not grab for my handkerchief to wipe my eyes when I think of classmates who are so spiritually deprived and who one day will either be broken by Christ’s love or will face the awful consequences of having broken the hearts of others?

How can I not be pained at such scenes?

In spite of my combination of sorrow, pity, anger, love, compassion and desire to befriend the child and her mother, I still sense hopelessness.  The task is so huge.  The damaged children and their parents are everywhere, and their protectors are so few and feel so helpless.  And, “the poor we will always have with us.”  But why?

The pictures I am describing are not the consequences of monetary policies or wage disparities.  Rather, they go to the matter of pride, of being “better than them”, of greed, of not sensing the oneness of our common humanity, of sensing superiority over the “unfortunate ones.”

What I have been writing about arose to the surface several days ago when I was listening to Selah’s version of “Coat of many colors.”  The YouTube version includes the lyrics on the screen.  Let your heart and mind be sensitive as you listen and read at www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIfA1p8BD8g. And, don’t be embarrassed if you reach up to dry your eyes as you picture the little child, her coat, her mother, and the consolation of love.