I saw this family, and I knew they were different. They didn't share in the general jovial community sense that the rest of the parents and family members had in the pediatrics ward. Granted, some families don't always; when their children are hovering precariously between death and life, they don't always take part in the community atmosphere. And yet this family's little girl was able to walk, was not lying limply from malaria, meningitis, or other savage illnesses. Her life was not hanging in the balance.
I asked around about her. "Why is she here? What's her diagnosis?"
Then it all made sense. Despite the fact that she was physically alive and her body was not being ravaged by disease, her family was mourning her death. Or at least the death of her innocence. This ten year old girl had been raped by a family member, and now her father and mother mourned in silence as they comforted and loved her. Their somber affects and gentle care for their daughter as they grieved the loss of her innocence is something I won't soon forget.
Crimes against innocence are of the vilest nature. And yet how often do I myself not respectfully mourn the loss of innocence? Because one day in ages past, innocence was slaughtered on a hill called Golgotha, and so often I carelessly mention that death without allowing its gravity to sink in. Even worse, I often scorn the death of innocence by my own crimes against it in choosing self over love.