His name is who?
Mine yours and ours
Yet He rolls on
Dusky skin basking against roads
of red silence.
Mid-summer June 2012. I’m on the phone with a friend who founded a safe home for teenage girls who’ve been sexually trafficked, telling her about Restore One.
Her voice shifts, “Well have you ever thought about a safe home for boys, we get calls and I just do not know a place to send them.”
My response,“No we are not planning on serving boys, and I do not even know what that could look like.” Shortly after those exchanges our conversation ended. I hung up the phone, walked out the door into the kitchen and began fidgeting in the pantry, wanting to compartmentalize that particular conversation.
Was that fear welling up inside of me? The idea of boys illegally sold for sex had not crossed my thoughts nor plan for Restore One. Well, I’m not sure if I am ready or if I will know all the answers or get it right. Either this is God, my conscience or the familiar sly voice that keeps me pinned between yes and no. My reply, “I’ll just think about it later,” or “Let’s ponder more over that choice.” I’ll couch my ultimatum, read a book, drink some coffee and meditate over it until next week. Something about the delayed reaction and sudden halting of momentum targets a penitent question of, “Why?”
Why am I on the phone hearing this news?
Why have we not created spaces for boys and men to grieve, rage and heal?
Why am I here in Greenville?
Why have we not acknowledged that boys and men need a safe place away from their exploiter?
Why is my friend telling me there are no safe homes for boys?
I’ve been told that fear is a smoke screen; there is no real fire behind its veil of smolder. I’m still afraid. Fear either makes our body and mind run, freeze, fight or submit. My own response to fear normally is to freeze, such as my reaction in this situation. I did not know what to do or if I could do anything to dent this haunting news.
Fear was rooted deeply in my heart, stunting growth and healing. Its budding shadowed image of the future drew an illusion of disqualification. I was plagued by the feeling of scarcity and believed that I’d hit my cap. I quit believing in goodness.
Fear of inadequacy is a verbal dispute that lands right in between my ears, seeking to own the rights to my heart. That year I was 23 years old, faced with a new ministry and a calling I’d never fathomed. Panic wrecked my reality. Going through every motion I froze. Movement came as I let the waves of emotion crash over me and shift into a deep grief. Tears are what shook my heart to breathe again.
Fear can segue to sorrow. Mourning stretched beyond stories of boys and men into my hardened heart and settled deeply into my personal narrative.
Little did I know that God desired to uncap my muddled sentiments from unvarying years of pain to quilt a ministry that holds stories of many boys.
Solidarity correlates back to the holy instant where Jesus spoke clearly, “Restore One.”
To answer the “whys”? It’s simple, restore one and he starts with that one.
Praise to you Jesus.
Anna Smith is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Restore One, where she works diligently on their chief project, The Anchor House. The Anchor House will be the first shelter in the nation designed to meet the needs of sex trafficked and sexually exploited American boys. Anna has a resilient passion to see sex trafficking victims experience true healing and restoration. In her spare time, Anna enjoys biking with her husband Chris, reading, cooking, throwing pottery, running and yoga. Learn more about Restore One here.