“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” - Matthew 13:31b-32
When I was a teenager I badly damaged my right shoulder in a sports injury. I remember having to go to dozens of doctors appointments for tests and physical therapy. To this day, I still rate numbers on my personal pain scale based on a 10 being the immense shoulder pain I felt at 17, where I would have rather have had my arm amputated than continue to be in that level of pain.
I look back on that period of recovery with gratitude that my parents advocated for me as I tried to rehabilitate my shoulder. My parents lovingly looked for ways to support me in healing. My dad would use his lunch break at work to come pick me up from school and take me to an appointment. Most of my appointments ended with me in tears from both the pain of doctor’s testing for range of motion and nerve damage, and also from the fear that my shoulder may never fully recover. My dad must’ve seen how physically and emotionally draining these were for me and made an extra effort to try a proactive approach. One day, as when I got back in the car after another upsetting and painful appointment, my Dad pulled out two personal apple pies from a to-go bag and handed one to me. We stopped and took a minute just to enjoy a sweet treat together. Knowing we both share a sweet tooth, my Dad had gone through the McDonald’s drive-through before picking me up, so that he could have a tangible way to show me love after my appointment. He gave me the space just to cry before moving forward and to feel comforted by both his companionship and a pick-me-up dessert.
This memory has stayed with me over the years. I had the chance to talk to my Dad about it recently as I shared with him about how I am supporting survivors now. I am lucky to have had family that showed up for me in those difficult times. I also know that not everyone has that. This is the space that I have been able to show up for survivors, walking alongside them and supporting them in their healing and recovery process. Sometimes this looks like taking them to difficult appointments so they don’t have to go alone. Other times this looks like parking the car to take a minute to allow a space for the tears to come and having a sweet treat ready in my console as a pick me up after.
As my dad and I reminisced, we both agreed that it is the little things that make a huge difference. It isn’t about the biggest gift someone bought you, or the most expensive meal someone paid for. In the end, it is the people who are there to love you and foster relationships based in trust that truly touch hearts and impact lives for the better. It is all the little things that matter.
I am honored and thankful to be able show up for sex trafficking survivors in my community in all the little things.
- Rebecca McGill, Anti-Trafficking Coordinator