It could have been me

The last few weeks have been filled with a bunch of that annoying “life” stuff that I am sure fills many of your days and weeks too.

But, I can honestly say that I am good with that.  The grit in life is what makes the beauty that much more lovely.  I am really fine with taking the bad with the good.

Today, though, I just feel like all of my so-called grit is a joke.  Truly I feel like all of those “troubles” are nothing more than inconveniences. 

Because today the only image I have is of a little boy washed up on shore. 

I see a sweet little boy with a once bright smile, who is only a few months older than my own little boy, lying lifeless on a beach.

Then there is the image of his grief-stricken father, who lost is wife and two boys all in one fated night. 


According to all of the articles I have read on this story so far, this precious little boy’s aunt was working on trying to get him and his family to Canada but their paperwork was denied.  That’s what led to that night and them falling off of an over-crowded ship and drowning while trying to flee war-torn Syria. 

And the thing that is just gnawing at me is I feel like that we in the Western world are now becoming so accustomed to hearing these kinds of stories that we are almost numb.  It seems so far away and so unimaginable, that the picture may be a little heart breaking, but then we move on to talking about how Kanye West wants to run for President in 2020 or whether or not the Pumpkin Spice lattes have come out at Starbucks yet.  Now I love Pumpkin Spice lattes as much as the next person, and last year when they were finally available in Guatemala, I felt like angels were singing when I took that first sip.

The problem isn’t pumpkin spice lattes or pop culture. What is wrong is that little by little I start to care more about those things than the fact that a little boy and his brother and mother died while trying to escape war, death, and destruction in pursuit of freedom.  It is wrong when my thoughts and my conversations are occupied by the frivolous more than by things that matter. 

I feel as if we have become so engrossed in our own pursuits, in our own convictions even, that we have completely stopped the entire process of trying to “walk in another man’s shoes.”

We treat our privilege of being born into a certain family and in a certain country as our right and our right alone.  We begin to think that we did something to earn our spot into luxury and abundance and that by offering it to someone else it somehow threatens our access to it. 

We have stopped being empathetic. 

            Empathy says, “I see you.  You matter to me.  I want to walk with you.”

We have stopped loving.

            Love says, “I won’t stop until we find a way.  I will bear this burden with you.  I will have hope for you when you can’t find the strength to hope any more.”

We have stopped listening.

            A listening ear says, “I don’t understand but I want to.  Teach me.  Help me see the things through your eyes. Come to my table and open your heart to me.”

We have stopped caring.

            The one who cares says, “It’s not enough for me to have this.  I want you to have it too.  You are not alone.  I am in this with you.”

Our world has gotten entirely too small.

And I am just done.  I am done with that.  I can no longer go about my business and pretend that the fact that I am serving orphans and children in crisis in a third-world country is enough.  I have done my duty…leave the rest to someone else. 

I just can’t do that.

Because that little boy could have just as easily been mine…or yours.

You and I need to stop the bull and accept that truth.  You have what you have maybe in part because of hard work but a HUGE part of it is because of where you were born.  It’s a fact. 

And to pretend any different is just a lie.

We can say all we want that our gender, the color of our skin, our family’s socio and economic status, and our country of origin are nothing more than back stories.

We can say that so loud and so often that we begin to convince ourselves of its truth.

But it is a lie.

It is a big, fat, ugly lie.

Your gender, your race, your country, your family’s position in society, and a whole host of other details about your upbringing did and do play a role in your life and your future EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I am a white girl, from a stable, middle class family, in the middle of suburbia in the United States of America.

I went to church on Sundays. I played softball and basketball growing up.  I made good grades in school.  My teachers liked me, and I had a great group of friends.  I went to college.  My parents and the rest of my extended family loved me and always treated me with respect and kindness.

I am who I am today, and I have what I have today in large part because of all of those above-mentioned things. 

Did I work hard? Yes.  Did I struggle sometimes? Of course.

But, I never felt the sting of someone treating me less than because of the color of my skin.

I never knew the hunger pains of not knowing where my next meal was going to come from.

I never experienced the grief and fear of wondering if tonight was the night my house would be raided, or the gang would come and rape me and kidnap me.

I never had to run under the covering of the night towards a freedom in another land.

These are not my realities.

But just because they are not my realities does not make them any less true.

These are true, real life worries, fears, and experiences of people all over this world.

And, it has to stop.

I am pleading with you to help me make it stop.

As I said earlier today on my Facebook page, I don’t really even have the answers.  I do have some ideas that I will be following up this post with soon, but I can’t fix all the ugly and bad.  I can’t and you can’t.

But we can read and learn.  We can love and extend a hand.  We can stop judging and instead start listening.  There are hundreds of people out there doing this way better than me.  They are smarter and wiser and just have a much greater handle on this stuff, so lets start talking to them.  Let’s ask questions.  Let’s start writing letters or opening up are home or volunteering.  JUST DO SOMETHING!

I am just a girl…a mom…a sister…a daughter…a wife…a friend that is saying enough is enough.  I will not continue to pretend that my right to life, liberty, love, food, shelter, and freedom is my right alone.  I will not tell myself the lie that by fighting for others to have this right, I somehow null my own.

Wake up.  Open your eyes.  Open your hearts.  It could have been me or it could have been you.  So let’s stand in the gap for the one that it was and is.

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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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