Saturday, February 21, 2015

Can You Help Me Remember How To Smile?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Today I again listened to a song called Runaway Train performed by Soul Asylum.  The song and its dark theme regarding runaway children came (back) into my consciousness last month one morning when I was at Walgreens in downtown Minneapolis.  I wasn't expecting to hear the song that morning.  I was on the verge of tears as I left Walgreens.

I find the music video (which you can find here) quite provocative.  As the lyrics unfold images of children who went missing some twenty or more years ago play across the screen.  When I first watched the video last month I decided to look up the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children online.  The organization began in 1984 and serves "as the nation's clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children."  The NCMEC website also describes the organization as "the leading nonprofit organization in the U.S. providing assistance to law enforcement and families to find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent child victimization."

Prior to the creation of NCMEC there was no organization that could specifically assist law enforcement and the parents of a missing child to coordinate a response for the purpose of bringing the child safely home.  Police could make use of an FBI crime database to enter, manage and disseminate information regarding stolen cars, stolen guns and, yes, even stolen horses.  Stolen children were not included.  A number of publicized tragic cases of missing children in New York, Georgia and Florida eventually inspired a change in policy.  If you have experienced the trauma of losing a child NCMEC may be able to provide you substantial assistance or referrals.

I find it interesting to read up on the history of the United States' policy response to the issue of missing children.  Had I run away from my own home in the summer of 1982 it seems there would have been a very good chance that I could have suffered very grave harm.  I could have been abducted, exploited or even murdered.  I suffered through a lot of trauma as a kid.  But running away could have made my circumstances far worse.  I chose what I perceived to be the lesser of two bad scenarios.

A particular lyric of the Runaway Train song deeply moves me:

Can you help me remember how to smile? Make it somehow all seem worthwhile.  How on earth did I get so jaded? Life's mystery seems so faded!

I find these words so packed with power.  I am remembering how to smile now.  I am also learning to enhance my skills so I can regain my sense that life is indeed worthwhile.  I have wondered how I became so cynical and jaded.  And for a very long time life did indeed seem quite faded.  EMDR therapy made a tremendous difference in my perception of the world outside of my own skin and bones.  The world I perceive with my eyes and other senses now often has the vivid quality I associate with Disney movies.

If you are in pain now consider asking yourself this question:

What is there about my life that I can smile about?

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