The phrase just came to me tonight after a not-good phone call. And I realize that I have no idea what this phrase means. It has a bibley sound to it, but I wasn't familiar with it at all. It was a fragment, must be a fragment of something much larger. I wanted to know — so I turned to the Internet.
And I came upon a blog devoted to caring for infants in Malawi villages. Orphans gathered in an orphanage village called Mzuzu SOS. Children malnourished and alone no longer.
And I came upon a four part expose from 1968 of Pennhurst State School for Mentally Retarded Children. And there were kids in straightjackets, and kids with their hands or feet bound to the bars of their cribs. And children sitting cross-legged on the floor rocking back and forth with rhythmic repetition. And the children, said the narrator, happy to have something positive to say, "are no longer sterilized." Wow.
And I found a movie trailer of the same name that was unwatchable, and I couldn't hit delete fast enough for my own health and safety. And this film was apparently based upon a Stephen King short story of the same name, which was called in one description, "a delicious fright."
And I found a Stephen King disclaimer, stating that 'Suffer the Little Children' had, and I quote, "no redeeming social merit whatever" (King, 1993:801).
And I found a book on the murder of eleven year old Melissa Moody by her uncle, somewhere near Boswell, Oklahoma. And the point being made was that abuse in one generation raises the next generation of abusers. Details provided.
And I found The Smiths lyrics, of the same name, which sounded an awful lot like the case I'd just been reading.
And yes, I found Jesus.
And yes, I've always wanted to say that, if only on the page, or screen or whatever, just for fun to see what it feels like. But in saying it here — I mean it quite literally. I literally found Jesus. Or Jesus' words, anyway.
Which is really finding Matthew, I believe, not Jesus, right? And Mark. And Luke.
The key quote appears to be:
Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:14)
Which, to my neophyte ears sounds a lot like someone proselytizing young vulnerables and not wanting to be restrained. You know, something Jim Jones would have said. And meant it.
But the website I found this on explained to me that this meant that Jesus loved children.
By the time I had spent more Search Function time than I should have on this little puzzle, I reflected on the phone call I had just received.
It wasn't about abuse.
It wasn't about malnourished, orphaned village babies.
It wasn't about psycho-killers.
It wasn't about social merit or the lack thereof.
And it wasn't a Stephen King horror show.
And my not-good phone call gained a 'suffer-the-little-children' context. And I realized that my kids are really alright. And that everyone suffers. And that our children suffer, even without the trauma-drama. And that maybe this phone call wasn't about suffering at all, but about life. And a moment that will pass.
Just a glitch in the matrix, and one that might possibly open new doors. And that maybe (just maybe) this moment is a turning point. And the turn may well lead to a much finer vista than the one being left behind. Or something like that.