Yes, I asked the question- in the safety of my home, of course- but I asked it. According to the Washington Post, I am not the only one who wanted to know Where in the world is Syria?
John gave me a brief lesson on the crisis in Syria and then sent me to several sources with good explanations about the situation. The more I read and watched the more disturbed and confused I became. There are millions- MILLIONS- of refugees,- half of them are children who have lost everything– and I am just now hearing about this.
Have I been living under a rock?
That wasn’t the first time this year that I asked myself that question. As I prepared to go to Thailand, I watched the documentary Half the Sky. Women across the globe are being oppressed in devastating ways. How did I not know this? Why didn’t I hear their cries?
Have I been walking around with my fingers stuffed inside my ears?
Apparently, the problem exists in America as well. I read several blogs written by beautiful, young, Christian, women, struggling with their faith and the church because of oppression occurring behind our stain glass windows.
Sure, people are hurt by the church every day, but an entire movement of women- and men- are rising up and shouting foul play. I had no idea how belittled and shamed they felt.
Do I agree with everything they say? No.
Do I think that means I shouldn’t be moved to compassion- even conviction? Of course, I should!
I sit in church every single week. I am blessed to attend a church that honors and values women. Regardless, why didn’t I see these women in my pews- not that we have pews at my church, but you get the point?
Have I been walking around with my eyes wide shut?
Over and over again, the questions came. Like an onslaught, my senses roared to life as I discovered an entire world I didn’t even know existed.
I have changed a lot over the last year and a half. I have experienced incredible healing from hurts in my life. It seems the more healing and freedom I experience, the more I stretch my wings and move beyond myself. Each day I become bolder. Each day, I explore a little farther beyond the rock I was hiding under.
The problem with leaving the place you have call home- whether it is a hiding place or not- is that you discover the world around you.
You discover friends who have been patiently waiting on you to emerge.
You discover beauty in daily life.
You begin to run and laugh and play.
Sometimes, though, you fall down and scrape your knee. The pain almost sends you back to the safety of your rock dwelling place, but you remember the cramped living quarters, the smell of shame, the taste of bitterness, the darkness of defeat. So, you ask your friends to help you up. You put on a band-aide and gingerly keep moving forward.
The longer you stand in the sun, the more your eyes acclimate to the light.
You begin to see colors more vividly.
You begin to notice the shadows hiding millions of other rock homes.
You become aware that you were not the only rock dweller.
You learn that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people live trapped underneath rocks. You discover that some rock homes are made of tiny stones, some with giant boulders. Some rock dwellers built their homes; some live in fortresses made for them.
Some want out. Some do not, but all are trapped inside.
You look back at your rock home. You can go back and live quietly under your rock. You can ignore the things you saw. The problem is you can not un-see the things you saw.
Freedom has a price.
Returning to your rock is not an option; now you have to act.
That is how I feel about the many things I am learning. I don’t want to go back. I want to live in the sun, but I can’t ignore those who need freedom as much as I do.
So, I am talking to God about how I should respond. He is helping me deal with my reaction to the things I am seeing. He is showing me what I can do. He is teaching me that it is OK and even good for me to stand in the sun, to run and play and enjoy the world around me.
I don’t have to be consumed by the pain. I can be a light of what freedom living looks like, encouraging others to take a chance at leaving their rock homes behind.
I can knock on the doors to people’s hearts and invite them to join me in the sun. I can’t free everyone, but I can pick up a rock- even if it is a tiny pebble- and start the excavation process.
I can help people take one more step towards hope and freedom.
And that is exactly what I am doing in regards to the crisis in Syria.
I don’t have a clue what the right answer is politically. All I know is that the people making those decisions need my prayers. So, I am praying for them. It is overwhelming to figure out how to help the millions of men, women, and children caught in the middle of a war they didn’t create. However, I have to do something because doing nothing would be the first step towards returning to my rock abode.
I am using the resources and wisdom of others to make a difference. I am joining forces with my pastor, Matt Woodford. He is raising funds to send aid to the Syrian refugees through World Help.
I decided I will not purchase any books this month. I will donate the money I would have spent on books to Pastor Matt’s World Help Fund. His goal is to raise $1500.00. Just think of what that money can do:
A gift of $20 is enough to provide food and medicine for a refugee child for one month
A gift of $120 will provide food and medicine for six refugee children for one month.
A gift of $1,200 to provide food and medicine for 60 refugee children for one month.
What about you? What can you do?
Are you living under a rock? Do you feel like you can’t help? Well, you can.
You can help the Syrian refugees, and you can help yourself. Reaching out and helping someone else moves you two steps closer to exiting your fortress.
Don’t have much to give? Give a pebble. Forgo your coffee for a week or your Dr. Pepper habit (gasp). We live such blessed lives. We can all give something.
Don’t feel compelled to give because your resources are going elsewhere? Give by sharing. Share the message that Syria needs help. Share this post. Share Matt’s World Help link. Tell others what you are learning about the crisis in Syria, the world, your neighborhood. Then DO SOMETHING.
Don’t fool yourself. To know and do nothing is an impossibility. Doing nothing is a decision not to act.