I can’t stop staring at this picture.
I don’t know these people and I don’t have to know them for this picture to wreck me. I fell asleep in a warm bed last night, next to my husband, our animals flanking us on every side and also in the floor. In the haven of my bedroom, in the house that I own, in a peaceful nation, in a town far from conflict, I found rest.
The man pictured does not know rest. His eyes are heavy and weary, and I can’t wrap my head around his burden. Is that his only child? Did he have more children and lose them to the tragedies of war? I want to know his story. I wish I could clothe him and his wife, give them a warm meal, a shower, a soft bed, and rock that baby so Mama and Daddy could sleep. No. So Mama and Daddy could rest. Truly rest. I wish I could tell them that peace is possible. I wish I could hug them so tight and let them weep if needed, or just let them know that someone cares.
Some people are more equipped for empathy than others. There are people who can see the above picture and move on with their lives, but I am not that person. I’m still staring at it, searching, wishing I could reach through it and offer everything I have to those 3 souls. My empathy runs to a fault, my heart bleeds at the sight of injustice, at hurt, at brokenness, at despair. I stay awake at night, thanking God for the things that I have and asking Him why others aren’t as fortunate. I don’t understand why I have been dealt a favorable hand and these folks haven’t. It’s hard for me to accept, and it’s something I talk about with God often. I don’t have any answers, but I will keep asking and I will keep searching.
This awful world is filled with stories like these. Aleppo is not new, but it’s here and in our faces this holiday season. Bloodied faces of innocent children live tweeting their own demise, the story ending as a 140 character Auschwitz in real time before the eyes of the entire world. I can’t shake it. With every gift I purchase and wrap, I think about how those dollars could buy meals for the family above or for the families unseen. Recently, Chad’s overtime was cut and we’ve watched every penny, but every penny that we have is more than what any of these folks have. So, anything I can give, I know goes to use. And any spare penny you can give will go to use as well.
Scroll up and look at that picture again. Step outside of your comfortable home, in your safe town, up your safe holler (hollow for you folks reading not from Appalachia), on your safe street, and imagine being that man and woman. They are just people, born in a different part of the world than us, who had no choice in the matter. We must move beyond our own insularity, and realize we are chosen to help and be present. We are the haves, for whatever reason, and we can be the good.
To give some context to this plea, visit PreemptiveLove.Org and read about the work they are doing in Syria (and other places in the middle east). This is an organization brought to my attention in a post by Jen Hatmaker, but I did my own research on it’s validity. You can do your own research, too. But, please, open your heart to the people of Aleppo today. If you can give, please give. If you pray, please pray.
Please, Lord, let this man, woman, and child realize they are not alone.