I may never know your real name, but “Sprynkle” was on your nametag, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that name. We’ve never really met, technically. You were working in the drive thru at one of my favorite lunch spots near my office. It was a sunny, beautiful Friday. I had just finished a physical therapy appointment, and I needed something to eat before I went back to my job.
When I got to the window, I saw from the side that your right eye was bloodshot. Oh, it’s probably just a burst vessel, I thought. I hope Sprynkle feels better soon, I thought.
When you turned to face me, though, I saw that it wasn’t just a silly old burst vessel. In fact, it was an image that I will probably never be able to erase from my mind. Your cheekbone was dark blue and yellow, Sprynkle, and your right eye was red and inflamed right next to the swollen bruise.
Somehow, I don’t think that bruise came from a tumble down the stairs or a clumsy moment around the house.
I didn’t want to think about how that happened, Sprynkle, but I tried to choke out a “Have a good day” as I left your window, as if somehow my words and my smile would reach your heart and let it know it was loved. As soon as I drove away, though, all I wanted to do was go back, walk into that restaurant, and hug you and cry with you.
I don’t know how you would’ve reacted to that, Sprynkle, but as I sit at my desk hours later, you are still the only thing on my mind. Sprynkle, I’ve never been in your shoes, and I can’t relate to the turmoil you must be experiencing. But I felt such a draw to show you love, and now I feel I missed my chance to do that.
So Sprynkle, you may never read this. Maybe you will. Maybe someone else will who’s in your shoes. But you need to know that you are not alone.
When I got back to my office from my lunch break, I saw a butterfly on a bush right next to my car. It was black and blue. Sprynkle, you too carry black and blue, too. For a moment, when I saw that butterfly, I sat in my driver’s seat and cried gut-wrenching tears for you. My heart breaks for your pain, Sprynkle, and I wish with everything that there wasn’t so much hurt in this world so that people like you wouldn’t have to be the victim of someone else’s pain.
But Sprynkle, that butterfly also had some orange on its wings. And I’m betting you’ve got some hints of orange, too. That orange is what, you ask? It’s courage.
You, Sprynkle, deserve to be safe. You deserve to be loved. You deserve to be treated with respect. You don’t have to be trapped under whoever did that to you. You don’t have to live in fear of someone else. You have courage, and I pray with everything in me that you’ll be able to muster that courage someday very soon to walk away from danger and pain, and run toward safety.
Sprynkle, if I see you again, I hope I’ll have courage, too. The courage to offer hope in some way. I hope I’ll have the courage to let you know that there is someone right here in this city who can help you and keep you safe. More importantly, I hope I’ll have the courage to tell you that in that dangerous world, there is one safe place that we can all run to, and that place is really a being.
The safe place is a God who loves you enough to die for you, Sprynkle, and He’s got his arms outstretched, waiting for you. Yes, you.
That same God created you and knit you together with a purpose, Sprynkle. He also made that butterfly, that beautiful black, blue, and orange butterfly.
As for the black, blue, and orange that you carry, Sprynkle, it can be redeemed, and made into something wonderful, just like that butterfly I saw. Just like a butterfly goes through a change, God can use a dark and scary time to redeem your experiences. Sprynkle, I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again. But just know that I’m praying for God to show you your orange, to show you the courage that only He can give.
You are fearfully made, and your life has a purpose, Sprynkle. You can always be held in God’s hands, hands that will never harm you or bring you pain.
My heart breaks for you, Sprynkle, but I know there is a God in heaven. I know that He loves you. I know that if I ask Him to intervene in your life, He will.
And until then, Sprynkle, you’ve opened my eyes. I cannot “un-see” your pain. And today, I can no longer go through my life taking things for granted. I cannot sit at my desk job that pays me enough to live comfortable and complain. I cannot sit in my cozy apartment that I can adequately afford and wish I had something fancier. I cannot look at the man I love—the man who would never harm me for anything—and take his kind, gentle heart for granted any longer.
Oh how I wish I could thank you for that realization, and again, hug you, cry with you and remind you that you are so very worthy of a kind, gentle man to love you, too.
So Sprynkle, all that I can say is that you are loved. You are wanted. You are beautifully broken, and there is a God in heaven that wants to hold your broken pieces and heal your wounds.
And I pray that just as he rescued me from my selfishness and ungratefulness today, he will rescue you from your pain and capture and heart.
“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22