This weekend I watched the movie Know How. It’s described as a “musical written and acted by youth in foster care. Their lives. Their stories. Their voices.” After reading about it online, I was itching to watch. I scoured AmazonPrime to no avail while our canceled Netflix account teased me with it streaming. Then, my beloved library came through.
Thank you, God, for libraries.
It starts right in. There’s no fairy dust or ruby slippers here. And quickly my excitement faded. Not because it was poorly done or didn’t keep my attention. Quite the opposite. Because it was real. Painfully real.
True pictures of what these kids lived through. What 400,000 kids all across America live through everyday.
Several times, I had to take a break. Turn it off for a bit. Muffle the sounds of violence. Look away from the visuals of abuse. Rest for a moment in my safe living room. Take a deep breath beside my loved ones.
My eyes and heart didn’t want to invite these pictures and sounds into my little world. I didn’t want to know them. I can’t ignore them if I know them.
It’s much easier to watch the terrible rape and pillage of Game of Thrones or the destructive lies and deception of Breaking Bad. The drama of fiction doesn’t come with the same sting of reality.
When we come to know truth, we necessarily are asked what we will do next. How does this new information change the way we respond in the world? Do we have more empathy for the homeless man on the street? Do we reach out to advocate for foster kids through programs like Court-Appointed Special Advocates? Does it inspire us to move? Or do we simply move on?