I browsed through a local consignment store, hoping to find an armchair that would fit my family room (and my budget.) My mind was focused on the floor plan of that space and mentally calculating the family members who will gather to watch the Ohio State- Michigan game in a few weeks.
As I wandered toward the back of the store, two of the ladies who worked there began chatting. Their conversation focused on Dr. Phil’s recent interview with kidnapping survivor Michelle Knight…
“She said that he tied her up on the bed. She was naked,” one woman said.
“Really?” replied the other. “That’s horrible!”
“I know. And he chained her. He assaulted her and he left her in a room with spoiled food, full of flies…she never got to take a shower…”
“She didn’t? That’s awful!”
Their conversation was punctuated by groans of disbelief. I understood their incredulity. I had seen portions of the interview and was horrified to learn of the unspeakable humiliation and heinous physical abuse endured by the women in that horrible home.
But a different part of the interview stabbed my heart. I stood, motionless, next to secondhand upholstery, recalling her description…
Knight said that her captor used words in an attempt to break her spirit: “Where’s your family? Why don’t you have any? They must not really love you. Your family don’t care about you. You never had a family that loves you. And that’s the reason why I hate you, because I can abuse you and nobody would care.”
And then this crushing blow: “Nobody’s looking — you won’t even be missed when you do die.”
The gravity of that statement crushed and convicted me at that moment, as I stood in a store full of surplus…searching for extra chairs.
I should be searching for extra people.
Too many people are missing from our neighborhood barbecues, our churches, our dinner tables. They may not be chained to beds in cold rooms, but perhaps they’re bound by loneliness or disability or addiction. Maybe they’re slaves to work, or immobilized by the grief from death or divorce. Whatever has captured them… they’re missing.
I want them to hear us..
Hang on! We’re going to find you….
We have a chair for you.