As we deal with the results of the election, over in Syria, a real crisis of epic proportion is raging daily.
As a world, our indifference to their suffering is heartbreaking.
I, like many other Americans, saw the picture and short video of the boy wiping blood from his head in the back of an ambulance after a bombing in Syria.
The boy wasn’t crying. He was just sitting there. My heartstrings were tugged like the media hoped.
I showed my six-year old son the picture, and his heartstrings were tugged too. But the questions he followed with pulled on my heart harder.
“Why are they being bombed?”
“Where are his parents?”
“Why would people let that happen to them?””
“What will happen to that kid?”
“Why don’t we live in a war zone?”
I realized I had very little wisdom to offer him. I started researching the Syrian crisis and found a documentary called Salam Neighbor.
Two young Americans head over to Jordan for a month to live in a Syrian refugee camp. They wanted to hear from the refugees firsthand about the crisis their life now was.
I had my son watch this film with me to hopefully answer some of his questions. I could barely hear the documentary over his next wave of questions.
“Why do they have to live in tents?”
“Where do they celebrate their birthdays?”
“How long will they have to live there?”
“Why if they had money in Syria would they leave?”
“Will they ever get to go back home? “
Again, there is little consolation or wisdom to offer. I mean, it is only by the grace of God that we were born in America. These people are no different than you and I.
Why are we letting this happen?
I still can’t wrap my head around it. But instead of sticking my head in the sand and waiting for the media to pull my heart strings again I realized, I must do my part, no matter how small.
“I feel that I‘m very blessed. But with great blessings come great responsibility.” ~ Kanye West
Kanye said what my close friend once told me. I have never forgotten these words: “Once we realize how blessed we are, it is our duty to bless others.”
The Syrian crisis and my son’s questions are just a reminder to me that as Americans we are blessed beyond belief. We have the opportunity to dream and achieve. We have the resources to be anything we want to be.
We are still the land of opportunity, despite the outcome of the election. A large portion of the world, simply because of where they were born, is never presented the opportunities we have.
Therefore, it is my responsibility to not be indifferent to suffering. Suffering is all around us, if we take time to notice. It was only because of my son’s curiosity, and then my research, that I realized that my next blessing needed be for the refugees.
But we all possess that responsibility and power. As the author and activist Helen Keller once said:
“Until the great mass of people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each others welfare, social justice can never be attained.”
I will now live watching and waiting for what pulls my heartstrings. I keep the realization of my blessings at the front of my perspective, and whenever I can, I let my blessings ripple. I hope you will do the same.
Author: Nicolette Beale
Editor: Sara Kärpänen