oh, the feelings
my heart feels heavy, like something is pressing on my chest making it hard to breathe. it's the photos of the children in syria going around the internet. the 'Where do the Children of Syria Sleep?' series by the swedish photojournalist. it breaks my heart (as I assume it does to many). there's one in particular that gets me, a five year old girl with haunted eyes that have seen so much more than they should have. were it not for the simple fact that our own ancestral providence happens to have lead us to a certain life on a certain continent (which is not at all to say that there aren't very real struggles going on every day, all the time, on our own turf, in our own country), affording us a certain level of comfort and security........ she could be Claire. I could be the mother, building little pillow forts for my daughter every day, giving my all, beyond my all, to offer her an illusion of comfort and safety. a feeble attempt to distract her from her nightmares, all the while pushing aside my own.
I have no idea what to say, what to write. I want to bring those children, all of them, into our home and feed them soup and biscuits and hot cocoa, and give them clean fluffy pillows and sing them lullabies. I want to invite the mothers for tea, and I want to remove their shoes (if they have any) and give them foot massages and then send them off to a nice warm bath. instead, I cry for them and send money when I can. I'm also very inspired by this organization that is collecting baby carriers for refugees, and thank Lisa for putting that on my radar.
are horrific things happening any more today than in the past? or is it just that we are all now so aware and exposed to it so easily, so quickly. I'm guessing it's the latter. to be sure, it is a good and worthy endeavor to be worldly and informed, to know the challenges and the triumphs of others near and far. no doubt it is wonderful and necessary, this humanity, this learning of one another so that we can better reach out in some way, in any way. but I admit there are times I wonder what sweet bliss it might be to just be ignorant of it all.
paris, syrian refugees, sudanese refugees, the dam burst in brazil........ how to sit with the knowledge of all this terror and tragedy and balance out the joy and the cheer of this time of year? I know that meeting terror and tragedy with joy and cheer is a good general practice. I know it begins with me, with you. peace, hope, resilience...... we must live and breathe these things that we want for the greater world in our own small ways in our own small lives, and hope that at least some of our humble efforts trickle out where they can be woven together with others and grow into something larger, something strong.
still, in the face of imminent holiday cheer, joyful advent countdowns, and all the goodness to come with it, right now, I am a bit sad. I am, however, most definitely happy too, and much more so than I am sad. I tend to feel things big, never having been very subtle with my emotions. I tend to worry, to feel like I should be doing more, and I must remind myself that I'm doing what I can, and that the small things I do to bring joy and peace into my own little world are important, big things.
so here's to the joyful days ahead, and to reveling in them happily, freely. and here's to the feelings, the big sad ones, that sneak in needing to be felt sometimes. here's to letting them in and letting them ride, and then taking a deep breath and doing what we can to bring more peace/hope/resilience/what-have-you into our own small worlds, one tiny little consequential bit at a time.