We are so engulfed in fear and violence that we are allowing ourselves to be manipulated to believe that some lives matter and others… not as much. We are allowing an imposter, a well-intentioned but misled Good, to take the wheel and barrel down anyone who is in the way of our search for Evil, all the while Evil smiling because when we stoop to Evil’s level we become Evil ourselves, no matter how good our intentions.
This isn’t a statement about Syria or Paris or Nigeria or Beirut, not really. Nor do I believe it could fix the problems of the entire world. I wish it could but I know it can’t. I’m just trying to figure out what in the hell is going on in our world and maybe bring some positivity to the circle because it seems like horror and tragedy is the theme for the week and it’s drowning me. It’s getting harder to look at my kids and know they are living in a world with such destruction. I read these agonizing stories of loss and hold my kids tighter; I try to make sense of how my kids live in a world that would not care for them or love them or take them in if they were born in certain parts of the world and I’m suffocated by the heart break. Aren’t you?
My social media is on fire with hate, exploding with judgements and negativity, people who seem to have no compassion for anyone outside of their clique, and indifference so thick that I could chew it… if I wanted to eat cancer.
I’ve heard people say that we have to “take care of our ‘own’ before helping the refugees as if by taking care of others we couldn’t still take care of our own (whatever “our own” means anyway?) Is it one or the other? If my son is sick and my daughter falls ill, must I decide who to care for? Couldn’t I care for both?
And that is Evil doing it’s best work; gagging us so blindly by fear that we slam doors and turn locks and start believing that our lives matter more than “theirs” and that some people can be disregarded. Isn’t that what terrorists believe too?
It makes me wonder Are we that far gone?
Are we so far gone that we could see a picture of a small, boy’s lifeless, delicate body washed up on shore – a boy that could be my beautiful boy or yours – and still have the heart to say that we won’t open our doors, our arms, our hearts to orphan refugees. We can’t “accept” those children? We can’t help them? Wouldn’t we hope someone would help our kids if we found ourselves in that predicament?
Are we so far gone that we can watch videos of children in their backyards of war – avoiding gun shots, scurrying for safety, standing next to family who are disembodied and blown to pieces by bombs and missiles- and still turn a blind eye because it isn’t our backyard so it isn’t our problem?
Is it because we don’t know them? Because they are nameless to us?
Here’s a name. Santiago. He’s my son. He’s the same age as Aylan Kurdi, the poor boy whose body was found on the shores of Turkey, and my son is the first thought I had when I saw that horrible image of those once strong, vibrant little legs that ran with energy now laying in the sand robbed of life. It made me want to crawl through the screen and pick up that child and hold him in my arms because I know that the only reason my son can play safely and Aylan cannot is because of where he was born, a detail that might have been different had my Cuban parents not been political asylum.
And because it could be my son, I cannot turn a blind eye or shrug my shoulders and say Not my backyard, not my problem. I need to find a better way – we need to – because here is a brutal truth: the war and destruction may not always be in someone else’s backyard and if it comes to yours wouldn’t you want to find compassion? Find love. Find kindness. Find hope. Find peace. Find good. Find family. Find community. Find shelter. Find strength. Find prayers. Find beauty. Find acceptance. Find humanity.
Look, I don’t have answers. I don’t have a political solution, nor do I think it will help, because this isn’t a political issue, it’s a human one but I know that I cannot continue to look my kids in the face and tell them I love them and then hand over this ugly, sad, mess of a world to them without at least trying to make it better in any small way, so I am starting this weekend – in my way – to flush out the Evil and carve out room for better and I hope you’ll join me.
Starting this week and every week for the next 12 weeks (we will end on February 14 ♥) I will choose from the Find List above, focus on finding it in the world, and sharing it. For that week on social media I will share those pictures, words, or ideas that represent that focus in a positive way, as a vehicle for Good. We have to start somewhere and since there is no better place to start than in your own backyard, I’m tagging it the #inyourbackyardproject .
Because I’m a teacher at heart, here is an example:
If this week’s challenge was Find Shelter, you might snap a picture of the shelter dog you adopted and share it on Instagram or you might share your umbrella with a stranger (as someone did with me once) and tell us about it on Facebook. It is open to interpretation as long as it is positive and highlights Good. Then, if you want, tag it with #inyourbackyardproject and #findshelter. If you’d like to share it with me too, find me on Instagram or Facebook, I’d LOVE to see it.
Whatever your interpretation, make it a vehicle for you to do Good, see Good, and share Good.
Because screw you, Evil.
~ UNTIL THE NEXT BOTTLE ~
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Blindfolded – Barn Images