When Tragedy Surrounds Me

February 24, 2016 - Radical Hope

Cocooning is a teIMG_5228rm with which we became familiar following September 11, 2001. For a time, nobody left their homes except to buy groceries. It felt wrong to be entertained by going to dinner or watching a movie in the face of the single deadliest terrorist attack in US history.

Even though seclusion may seem like the best plan at times, it’s not an option for many living in third-world countries. The question has been raised—how are we to deal with the most difficult situations in life when doom hovers overhead and there’s nowhere to hide?

I’ve seen the faces of adults and children forced from their homeland to walk hundreds of miles only to crowd onto boats in order to reach a destination filled with doubt. Focus on survival becomes more important than anything. Certainly they would prefer to cocoon in a safe harbor somewhere, but they don’t have that opportunity.
Refugees fleeing from ISIS have become a hot topic in the national news. Controversy revolves mostly around whether or not we would be importing ISIS terrorists along with many who truly need our help and a home.

What about these refugees? What do they look like? What do they sound like? Are they frightening, or threatening, or hateful? Or are they more like us than we’d care to admit.

I’ve included a photo of one little girl. She’s tired, and hungry, and sick. But she’ll be okay with a little TLC and the right medicine. Her mother sitting in the background was thankful and grateful for people who cared, and weren’t afraid of her because of where she came from.

I consider it a privilege to be able to help this little one and others like her. There are so many more waiting patiently at the door for a chance to be seen by someone who can ease their pain—their suffering.

What would I do in their situation? Would I walk hundreds of miles carrying a child with nothing to eat except what I could find along the road? If I’d had wealth, prosperity, a job and a home to share with my wife and children, and then I had nothing but the clothes on my back and a coughing, lethargic baby in my arms, what would I do?
I’m not arguing that we import tens of thousands of refugees, but there is much we can do. It may require us to go and help in any way we can. It may mean putting our money where our mouths are. If you’re like many of the people I’ve been privileged to work with, it means both.

You can do nothing if you choose not to, but it makes a difference if you help. You don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse. You can just be willing to make that difference and go.