What to do when you don’t know what to do…about Syria and the world in a wobble.

Dead Syrian baby on shore

This picture of a little boy.  Face down in the sand.  Dead.
Long before his prescribed time on earth and long after he experienced the fun of a happy home with a cuddly bed, the simple joy of an iced cupcake and the certainty of a safe and protected life – if ever. His memory probably only reaching as far back as the desperate heartbeat of his anxious parent, the clawing of his brother for lap space, the unrelenting discomfort of a growling tummy in a squashed up space at sea, along with too many others all exposed to the elements, heaving and crying and anguished, soon to be jettisoned like a piece of trash.
The only certainty, an uncertain future – if any.

           Oh Dear Dear little boy named Aylan

(and your brother and the thousands of others who just these past few months have perished too)
I pray your soul has found quiet and warm in the arms of a loving and caring God whose heart is hurting harder than ours ever could.  And dear parents and family, whoever you are, where ever you are, may the God of Mercy, Comfort and Peace, make Himself known to you. Really.
This is such a hard and almost incomprehensible thing to grasp right now. Perhaps for many of us.
Yet this I know, despite the ugly, the disbelief and the tears, God is still the stability of our hope. With Him, there is always hope. There has to be.
And so…. along with the sincere and passionate plea of many at a time such as this, where understanding the evil and hardship surrounding us is impenetrable, we ask most sincerely
What can I do?
Pray: Yes we can pray and cry out for all this global non-sense and evil to stop. Beseech the Creator to move in the hearts of and/or remove those who seek and obtain deathly power at the cost of life – never their own. We need to ask God to do what only He knows to do, on earth as it is in heaven, so that these ravished and war broken countries can return to a peace-filled normal. Whatever that is but He knows and He cares. Yes…we can and must pray. But for some, (and mostly me-of-the-instant gratification-ilk), prayer is sometimes intangible and fraught with frustration because we don’t see the fruits in the here and now. Like we like. Sometimes it seems futile and a time waster, but whether we see what we ask for or not, it’s still my given assignment to ask – expectant. So I will.
Give: We can give and collect  – money and clothes, sugar and salt and send it on to camps and places where more than a million refugees shelter inside torn tents surrounded by shattered dreams. Thankfully lots of people and organisations do this and others visit these places to bring a teeny bit of light and laughter, comfort and hope. I did.
My efforts, pathetic as they are, seem so small and of no consequence. The need of the planet and its people is so big and so vast.    The craving and the crying in my soul shouts DO something…. anything.
Do: But what to do? If I can’t travel to Bodrum or Macedonia or Jordan (and I’m sure those struggling with the crisis don’t always want the likes of us there). If I don’t have excess pennies and pants to send away, if I’m tired and worn out and am struggling to make my own life work.
What can I do?
What can we all do to ease the pain of those with us on this road called life. Or as the poet Rumi said “ as we just walk each other home”. We belong to each other, we are each other, so surely what we do for one we do for all, in some globally minuscule way.
Yes, we can all DO something, even if some-what small and seemingly insignificant in proportion to the refugee crisis. I believe we can still make the world-of-difference by letting a little love and kindness loose to those right here, right around us, right now. Bringing a little bit of heaven to this earth, even if for a fleeting moment in time.
Yes, I CAN reach out and love the unlovely, those that are marginalised and lost and lonely, those that think and believe differently, those that don’t look the same – in my home, family, on our street and through this large and often inhospitable city.
Let’s all extend a hand of worth that says you matter. Let’s find out the story behind the sad smile of the nanny bringing up our kids. Send a gentle word of encouragement and a flower to the colleague going through a divorce. Listen to the one whose job was taken away so unfairly. A hug to the lady who’s been side-lined through the jealousy of another. And then reach out to the another who acts up loud and unlovely because of her circumstances. A hand on the shoulder and a smiled thank you to the shop teller who works long and thankless hours and then goes home to a hot bed, shared by another during the day. Bake a cake for the ladies who clean the toilets in the malls. Cold water for the street sweeper. Give a little extra to the petrol attendant or window washer or person who brings your lavish lobster to the table with big smile sheltering a hurting heart because he’d rather be at college but can’t afford it.
Ask and listen for everyone has a story. Most are not fun. But all are relevant and there’s a lot we can learn from each other to make our lives better and when our lives are better, those around us get better too. Surely this is an exquisitely sacred thing. It’s all so ordinary but oh so necessary and life-giving and humbling and rewarding, all in one. For them and for us.
Yes, I’m sure we can crash the harsh and hard with care and grace. Lets pay special attention to those who’ve been ignored. To those that wish they were on a boat to paradise, even if the risk of not making it there is louder than the quest to live.
And what if our kindness or value extended to that one supposedly insignificant person makes them feel significant and special enough to stop seeking out a life of inclusion with an organisation thats very happy to give them credit and identity.
What if, maybe…just maybe… that organisation happens to be called ISIS.

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  1. Brilliant, Ali. Speaks to my heart more than you can know. Hope it speaks to many, many more. Love you.

    1. Thank you dear friend and thank you to both you and Chris who do so much for the impoverished and outcasts of society. THe way you make us all feel loved and significant is breathtaking. xxx

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