July 7, 2018

Pulling our neighbors from the water

This video is shattering to watch.

The photo that is displayed to promote this story is interestingly not of the sobbing that takes place as this mother and child are reunited. It’s a smiling photo as if all is well. What the video shows is gut wrenching and I can’t let this issue go.

It’s not that I think this is the only time this has ever happened in the world. The only children cruelly separated from their parents. I think also of people wrongly incarcerated, and Syrian mothers and fathers who handed their children into boats when a chance on the water became a better bet than the land. I think of the older but not so distant crimes of slavery and the brutality of carving up families for profit, turning human beings into products. It is who we are as a species, when we are at our ugly, hateful worst.

I think it’s deliberate cruelty that I cannot turn away from. I’ve known individuals that could get up in the morning planning how to hurt people. Make a to do list to perpetrate pain. Fortunately – not many.

I also don’t think suffering is optional. This is not heaven. It’s earth. Suffering and upheaval are part of the journey we’re on. Inevitable. What is not inevitable is making a choice to inflict pain. To consciously decide to hurt people more vulnerable than we are. To pick the thing that will do the most physical and psychological damage. And proudly plan it, execute it and profit from it. Use the might and power and wealth of a country to carry it out. I don’t think we want to be – or be led by – the animal that slowly eviscerates its prey and walks away smirking.

Most grownups know what we’re capable of when we have power. When we lose our humanity and thrill in our desire to dominate.

But I can’t let this go because I also know we are capable of standing up for one another. Of refusing to look away and move on to the next headline …We are capable of great feats of quiet and determined heroism and furious defense of one another and steady and deliberate acts of rescue.

When I think of the suffering of these children and their families, I hope it will be the moment we began fighting in earnest – for our souls.

This is not a political decision. This is a spiritual decision.

We need to pull one another from the water. Save our souls.

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