And the Children Cried

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

The sound of Church bells shatters the silence of the Sunday morning quiet along the slumbering Rio Grande. It is the dawning of another day, as the hot bright sun begins to materialize in the cloudless sky. A dog bark in the distance joins the sounds of the Sunday morning chorus, as dreams begin to fade and the vigilance of living returns for yet another day.

AND THE CHILDREN CRIED

By Al Garcia

The sound of Church bells shatters the silence of the Sunday morning quiet along the slumbering Rio Grande.  It is the dawning of another day, as the hot bright sun begins to materialize in the cloudless sky.  A dog bark in the distance joins the sounds of the Sunday morning chorus, as dreams begin to fade and the vigilance of living returns for yet another day.

A thousand miles to the east of the tranquility of the Valley’s fertile cotton fields and swaying palms, a child cradles a soiled and tear-stained pillow to his chest, as the sound of a clanging metal door awakens him from his restless fearful sleep.  He forcefully fights to keep his eyelids closed, so as not to reveal the chain-link walls that have become his world.  A cold and hopeless world without the scent or touch of the warm and loving hands that used to cradle him, and hug him, and wake him, on other Sunday mornings.  This Sunday morning, he is alone, again.  He is lost.  He is the forgotten, discarded and unwanted casualty of the cruelty and callousness of a Christian nation that has lost its way.

Back along the Rio Grande, the Sunday morning ritual continues.  Children are cradled and hugged as they wake from their peaceful slumber.  Clothes are laid out, and the rush to beat the clock begins.  Breakfast, baths, the usual Sunday morning chaos.  The dog wanting to be fed, the baby crying, deciding whose turn it is to put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, banging on the bathroom door, teenagers tweeting their friends, and thinking of excuses to get out of going to Church, and mom and dad, already exhausted and fatigued, and it’s only a little after ten in the morning on this typical Valley Sunday morning.

At churches, large and small, across the Rio Grande, ministers and priests greet their already exhausted congregations as they gather around in clusters of families and friends, exchanging morning greetings with hugs and handshakes, all wearing their Sunday best.  America goes to church.  The social event of the week, where an appearance is expected before the prying eyes of everyone but God, for he has seen your heart and already knows your soul.

And then, the climax of the morning starts.  A sermon by God’s righthand man or woman, as the case may be.  A few yawns escape from the pews beyond, and the word of God begins to flow.  There is talk about the growth of the Church, the strength of its commitment.  Something about Christian charity, and the need for self-introspection, and then more prayer.   And then, the hour-long litany of Christian dialog comes to an end.  Grownups stand up and stretch their legs.  Young people commence re-tweeting on their cell phones, and children’s voices begin to drown out the lingering words and thoughts just uttered from the pulpit.

There was no mention and no thought this Sunday morning of the little boy a thousand miles away, sitting silent and alone, attempting to escape his solitude and loneliness by visualizing in his mind, and feeling in his heart, a family now lost and fading from his broken heart.  There was no mention of our silence as we condoned the cruelty and brutality that we law in real time.  There was no mention of our Christian duty or charity to our fellow man.  There was no prayer for the abandoned and forsaken languishing in cages made of ignorance and hate.  What happened to the Christian way?

History has chronicled the silence that has betrayed the human spirit in the past.  History has recorded the cries of the helpless, the weak and the vulnerable that were never heard or simply ignored.  What excuse will we give history this time around, for why we ignored the children’s cries?

And the children cried, and we turned our backs and covered our ears, and hoped that the sound of church bells ringing and choirs singing would mask the atrocity of our silence.  We were wrong, because I can still hear the children cry.


Submitted: June 23, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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