Home > Post A Week 2011, Uncategorized > Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

Original photo: AP (Sept 2008)

This is a picture of a photograph, one that I’ve kept since it appeared in my local newspaper in 2008. I often take it out and look at it. By the time I tuck it safely away again, I still don’t have answers to the many questions it provokes in my mind.

This girl is broken. What would cause a child so young to have such an expression of utter sorrow and despair? Did she lose something important? A favorite toy? A beloved pet? Her mother—or both parents? Consider that the photograph was taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

This is a child who is broken. A child. Even after almost 3 years, this photo still affects me, like the Afghan Girl photo by Steve McCurry. I know nothing else about her beyond the caption, Homecoming delayed: [Name withheld] comforts her granddaughters as they wait in their car to return to New Orleans in Slidell, Louisiana, yesterday. [She] and her family evacuated New Orleans to escape Hurricane Gustav earlier in the week.” What did the photographer see? What story did she tell? I wonder where she is now. After the dramatic events of Gustav, how have she and her family fared? Who is she now? Did she find a way to convert her brokenness into courage and strength? To use it as a stepping stone rather than allow it to become a roadblock?

Perhaps her brokenness is an expression of frustration in the moment. Having experienced many hurricanes and knowing the frightening havoc they are capable of wreaking, do I dare hope that her expression was replaced by a smile upon finally returning to their home and her own stuff and routine?

I put the photo away and pray for her. God feels the brokenness a little girl suffered when Hurricane Gustav interrupted her life. I keep this photograph to remind myself not to be a voyeur as life’s events unfold–barging into other’s intimate moments momentarily before flipping the page over to the next news item–but to have compassion and do what I can to relieve brokenness when I encounter it.

  1. August 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I really appreciate your perspective on this photo. Thanks for sharing.

    • August 1, 2011 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your feedback.

  2. August 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Very poignant post. I appreciate your sensitivity and the way you gently provoke us to think deeper, pay attention, slow down and pray. Thank you.

  1. August 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm

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