Tag Archiv: panic

Refugees

photo by nasirkhan, compliments of morguefile.com

photo by nasirkhan, compliments of morguefile.com

My head is full of refugees. What will come of it, I don’t know. They have been sitting on my heart growing heavier. With public sympathies engaged for the moment, I can’t stop thinking that now is the time to do more.

One of the little oddities of me is the terror worry that occurs any time I cross a national border without my children. The shape of my fear is that something will happen and I will be unable to get back. My head fills with elaborate scenes of the end of life as we know it. Me, trying to find north, walking and walking, whispering over and over again to my children (who cannot hear me) not to give up. I am coming. If I am breathing, I will be coming.

I’m not sure why this happens. I read a lot of WWII stories growing up. Maybe a disproportionate part of my psyche is filled with the possibility that life can change radically in a very short space of time. Whatever it is, enough of me knows that the current likelihood of being separated from my home and family is small., So far, I can still get out the door with reminders to myself that I live in an affluent nation at peace.

In contrast to my reality, the UN Refugee Agency reports that there are more displaced persons in the world today than at any time in history. Numbers are expected to rise. In fact, Globally, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. The numbers beg for response. Refugees are always pouring over borders in far away places. But this is different. The numbers stare off the page in the faces of families and children. What can we do?

Corrie Ten Boom, my life time heroine comes to mind. A clock maker, quietly taking Jewish refugees into her home for hiding until they could be transported to safety. But how can I follow her lead when the refugees aren’t in my yard? What do I even have to offer?

These are my questions and complaints to God. It’s not the pictures circulating in the media (most of which I haven’t seen); it’s the pictures in my head. I list ideas for God of how I might help followed by all the reasons why they won’t work. There is great frustration in having a burden laid on one’s heart about which one feels hopelessly ill-equipped to do very much.

I sat down to write today’s post with the wry comment to God, that it would be hard to write since all I could think about was the refugee crisis, but I obviously couldn’t write about that.

To which either my head or the stubbornly quiet God of my seeking said, Why not?

I started to give the reasons then realized there weren’t any. I don’t have the answers, but neither does anybody else. There is no single simple solution to the refugee crisis, but perhaps because it has no choice, the world is at least awakening. The more people who hear the cries of the displaced, the better. I don’t have the answers, but I have questions nagging at my insides.

Who is our neighbor? What can be done, here, now, in our time? What would we here be pleading and hoping for, if it was our land torn by civil war, and devoid of justice, safety, and access to basic resources? What would we pray, if instead of a future, we could offer our children only conflict, chaos, and despair? How might we become part of the answer to those same prayers rising now from other lips?

Terrifying no risk activities

photo compliments of mxruben @ morguefile.com

photo compliments of mxruben @ morguefile.com

Once upon a time I was very disciplined about my internet use and determined to stay that way. All that connectivity can be pretty disconnecting. What is perfectly clear outside of the fray is obliterated by the noise within it.

Except that’s not what it says when it’s calling your name. When it’s whispering: Library! Post office! Your place of belonging! Your chance!  (At least that’s what it murmurs to me.)

A friend of mine leaves her computer at work, schedules on-line times, and stays off-line for much of the day. That she is following the plan I used to have grates. I console myself with the fact she owns a phone. She might not write from it, but surely, she is trapped by the need to check? Again and again? I should not find comfort in imagining this to be true.

For weeks and weeks, and possibly a few weeks before that, I have been planning to make a  plan. Libraries are wonderful. They exist with closing hours. Mail service faster and cheaper than the pony express is great. But a  breathless check every hour or so to see if any more ponies are standing at the gate takes away from the sacredness of here and now. There’s plenty of water and grass in the pasture; their needs are not urgent. Brushing and re-brushing old ponies when the pony I’m waiting for fails to appear might not make the pony come faster. (This is a theory I’m considering. Superstition dies hard.)

The thought of planning to make a plan feels good. I know because of all these weeks riding the waves of good feelings.  Actually making a plan does not feel good, it feels alarming. It feels like I’ve gotten involved with a bad idea. I have to picture my friend obsessing on her phone in the middle of the night in order to calm down.

Long term commitment is too intimidating. While waiting for the strength to enact accountable reform, I’ve been experimenting here and there. Used pen and paper. Unplugged the internet connection from the wall. Gone places to write that don’t have internet.

I relay the following results slowly because the implications agitate me.

I. really. really. like. how. those. spaces. feel. How the work goes. I. even. like. me. afterwards.

The happiness I feel away from the internet does not seem to diminish the panic I feel about expanding the experiment this week. I have limited the exercise to five days, two and a half of which I’m committed to communal activities all day long and therefore unable to access my computer anyway. It’s not a bold plan; it’s what I can manage. Five days. One hour of internet per day, used in no more than two blocks. Or three. The end. After that I go back to whatever lopsided unbalanced illogical rhythm I want. Plus there is steak, cake, and asparagus. By Tuesday, the list may have expanded to include chocolate covered almonds and a shrimp ring. Illicit drugs have never appealed. By Thursday, that may have changed.