Original Innocence

Open your eyes! The world is still intact; it is as pristine as it was on the first day, as fresh as milk! -Paul Claude

I saw a 20-year-old prostitute being interviewed on a talk show. When Candy was 14, her mother took her to a street corner in Los Angeles, gave her $20, and left her there. She hadn't had a home since that day. I was struck by the hardness of this young woman's face. Although tender in age, she seemed haggard, tired, heavily defended, and old beyond her years. The show's host announced that his staff had found Candy's father, whom she loved and had not seen for many years. Moments later, he walked onstage and embraced his little girl, whose makeup was now streaming down her cheeks with her tears. I wish I had a picture of Candy's face when she saw her dad. In an instant, those horribly painful years fell away, revealing the tender child who had been cast unprotected into a cold world. Candy's innocence was not lost; it was just hidden.

Like Candy, we have all covered our light with many layers of armoring in the wake of pain. But the pure child within us has not been destroyed by the challenges through which we have passed. We have gone through dark times, and we are still here. There is something inside us that is bigger than our circumstances. We must remember who we are in the midst of appearances that would tell us that we are something else. We can reclaim our innocence.

Today I return to You. Show me my original innocence.

I do not belong to the world. I belong to love.

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