When you’re 3 the world is full of wonder. It’s a magical place and enchanting.
When you’re 3 life consists of giggles, making messes, and discovery…
It’s a precious life beginning…dreams being made…
Unless you’re a family escaping war-torn, ISIS terrorized, Syria.
Then your 3-year-old, lifeless body washes ashore a Turkish beach.
Your sweet, chubby, 3-year-old face lies face-down in the sand because you drowned, along with your mother and 5-year-old brother.
You aren’t playing and giggling with other 3-year-olds. You aren’t playing or giggling with anyone because you died when your escape raft capsizes as your family desperately attempts escape from horrors most can’t even fathom a 3-year-old witnessing, let alone enduring – running for their lives – losing their lives.
Aylan Kurdi was 3-years-old. He had small chubby hands like most 3-year-old boys. He had a family that loved him desperately. So desperately they attempted a dangerous escape with innumerable risks. Desperately brave risks that ultimately took their lives rather than saving them.
Alyan’s father is the only survivor.
He fought to save his precious family.
“What is precious is now gone.” is all he had to say of this tragedy.
A 3-year-old’s limp and lifeless body washed up on a shore is an inadequate picture of the atrocities made against the people of Syria. 11 million are seeking sanctuary from neighboring Europe. Some are so desperate they are taking to the waters…and dying…it feels so hopeless.
Yet here in the Church in America we are surrounded by beauty, security, and most blissfully unaware of the repulsive and vile crimes daily made against our brothers and sisters living in terror and filth. We can not truly grasp a life beyond our own comfort and security.
We can not fathom fleeing with nothing, trading the horrors of ISIS for the unknown and perilous journey in treacherous waters with hope of acceptance of another’s borders.
So your kids can live you risk them dying.
We sit in privileged America, after hearing of these tragic happenings, expectant that Europe would open their arms to these 11 million so a raft is not needed. We expect them to provide for these refugees.
Ironically we tend to feel differently about our own borders – we have difficulty sharing with our own citizens in need. We hoard our finances. Our time. Our ability to make a difference. Yet we sit back and ruminate about Europe’s slow move to action.
What if we were expected to do the same? Not just as citizen’s or a country, but as individuals in the Church?
What if we were called to feed, protect, clothe, and love the least of these…a 3-year-old boy and his family?
…OH BUT WAIT…WE ARE…
And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’
absorbed with our privileged world that we ignore these least–both in Syria and other dark places ISIS reigns? Privilege looks differently depending on which side we find ourselves and the angle from which we choose to see. Will we wait to see and act after we ourselves become refugees and have lost our privileged lives we so fiercely guard? Can we really continue ignoring the pleas of our brothers and sisters whom are battling darkness like none of us have ever known? Fighting for the same basics we take for granted in our own ignorance…in our selfishness? Is now the time we can allow our American privilege to do good? For Aylan’s death to be worth something…to allow ourselves to dare to imagine ourselves on the raft–watching “all that is precious” drown in front of us–all at a risk to not just have a better life, but in order to fight to even have life.
Will we act? Or will we refuse to help? Will we open our own doors to the least in our own community? Will we fight for those whom can not fight? Will we send what we have not only out of our excess and privilege, but out of the deep gravity of the repercussions if we continue to ignore? Will we do this so there won’t be anymore Alyn’s washing up on shore?
Put yourself on that raft. What would you hope for?
Below is a list of items needed immediately with an address of where you can send them. Monetary donations can be sent to the confirmed and vetted organizations listed through Ann Voskamp’s blog.
Hellenic Postal Office of Mythymna
℅ The Captain’s Table
Molyvos 81108, Lesvos, Greece
Sneakers, gym shoes for men, women and children (all sizes) are a HIGH PRIORITY
Sweatpants of all sizes.
Briefs/underwear for men, women and children (all sizes)
Men’s trousers (small, medium and large) and shoes
Baby powder milk
Any non-perishables like nut butters or other long-lasting foods.
Plastic to cover the floor/for shade
Mats (camping or yoga mats)
Hats and caps for sunshade (adults and children/light colors because of the sun)
Electric Plug for multiple devices (european voltage)