To be honest, I tried to avoid it. I admit my cowardly need to somehow keep my distance. I know myself, I know the rabbit whole I will fall into with my thoughts if I let it in. My self-degrading questions of "why was I born here and not there?" that get me nowhere fast.
|(I couldn't bring myself to put the real picture...)|
I well remember the picture of the weeping grandfather, sitting on an ice chest in the midst of Katrina chaos that wrecked me for so long. The images of people jumping from windows to avoid burning in the twin towers. I didn’t want to see the pain. I didn’t want the feelings.
But I did want the information. I wanted to know what was going on and why so I could be informed. So I could teach my children life lessons and not look like the idiot who has no idea what is going on in the world. So I clicked some links, scrolled through some sites, careful to avoid pictures. Words don’t hurt me nearly as much as pictures.
Especially this one picture I had read about. The boy on the beach who didn’t make it to safety. I knew that his was an image I didn’t want burned into my memory, one I probably couldn’t handle, so I scrolled fast. I closed my eyes. I turned my head.
What a coward.
And then it happened. I didn’t scroll fast enough and that one particular picture just happened to be the one I landed on. A three year old boy, face down on a Turkish beach. A little red t-shirt that his mom had put on him just that morning. A boy that doesn’t look too much bigger than mine. My heart. Oh my heart. It shattered like glass into a million tiny painful pieces. That red shirt burned forever in my mind.
His parents just wanted to get him to safety. They wanted a better life for him. What parent wouldn’t? Syria is upside down and frightening, they had no choice but to try to get out. They were so desperate that they would try to sail away in a vessel unprepared for the task and only the father of the family survived.
The news stories I've read talked about the father like a survivor. Like the one that made it, the lucky one. As a parent, I believe he probably wishes he hadn’t survived. He lost his children and his wife in an attempt to take them to safety. His job as a husband and father was to keep them safe, and he probably feels he failed. My heart is broken for him.
I can throw open my home to refugees tomorrow, but no one would come. I could send money for relief, but who knows where it’s going? What can I do? I am just one Texas housewife with no influence. But God reminds me that there is always something I can do. The most important thing. I can pray. And not just for people groups who as a whole are suffering (although we pray for this as well), but I can pray for one specific person. I can pray for the Dad who survived. Abdullah. I have a name to whisper in my prayers. His name is Abdullah and we all know that RIGHT NOW he is hurting in a way we will never understand.
As you watch the news and read the papers, pray. Pray for Syria. Pray for resolution and aide and homes for refugee families. But I also ask you to pray for Abdullah. I would love to know that as a community we could be lifting him up together. Maybe our prayers can bring the Kingdom of Heaven a little closer to Abdullah’s heart.
What about you? Has the situation in Syria been on your heart? What are some specific ways you know that we can help?