Askren

Good Saturday, everyone!

I found this statistic interesting that my pastor shared this last Sunday. He said that in our lifetime we will have, on average, 5,000 injuries. Those injuries could be a bruise, a cut, or a broken bone. Most of them will heal and be forgotten, but sometimes it will leave a scar as a reminder.

But, some of our deepest scars are those no one can see. These scars are usually caused by us or to us through our own personal relationships. These scars are from physical and even, more-often, verbal attacks.

I can remember a Mother’s Day when my son was 2 years old. I was busy making a vegetable dish to take to a dinner that day and he wanted my attention. I was at the kitchen counter cutting up vegetables. Since he wasn’t getting the attention he wanted, he pushed a kitchen chair over toward me and climbed up on it.

From the corner of my eye I could see the chair tipping backward when he stood on it to get closer to me. Without thinking twice, I turned to catch him … with the knife, I was using, still in my hand. I could feel that knife brush up against him. I just knew I had cut his face, but through his screams and tears I could see it wasn’t.

Thankful, I picked him up to quiet him and make sure he was OK. I was sitting and rocking him when I noticed blood coming through my fingers; I had cut him across his knuckles.

He has a scar there to this day, 22 years later, but he doesn’t remember it. On the other hand, I can still see that moment in my mind. My scar is on the inside that no one sees. I carry many scars on the inside, as do you and others, but with a great support system of family and friends we get through them and heal.

This week, an 18-year-old girl was brought to my office by her uncle. She had nowhere to stay. She had no relationship with her mother or father and now the only grandmother she has ever known kicked her out.

She has deep scars we can’t see and more to come if she doesn’t get the right help. She dropped out of school at 16 and has no GED. She needs lots of help and I asked her uncle to please not let this situation define her. Eighteen should be an exciting time in her life with dreams of what she would want her life to be

like and yet she is looking for a place to lay her head at night.

There are so many more like her in our community and we lose them through drugs and alcohol, and, worst yet, suicide. I don’t know about you, but when I drive through town, I look at those who are waiting for the bus or walking with carts or backpacks stuffed with everything they own. They have much deeper scars than we can see or imagine. They often don’t have a mother who cares about any scar or pain she may have caused them. They need our help, all of us.

Next time you are driving through town, slow down, take time to pay attention to those around you. Look at their faces. They, too, like you, had dreams of a brighter future. Do you see them?

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 425 N. Gilbert St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone, 442-3512

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 425 N. Gilbert St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone, 442-3512

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