I'm restless with empathy tonight over this photo of a Syrian father clinging to his children as they climb out of an inflatable raft that had been losing air off the shores of the Greek island of Kos.
They were not on a family vacation.
They are refugees.
According to Webster's Dictionary a refugee is: "someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or polictal reasons"
This definition cannot define the emotion I saw in this photo.
I thought of Aaron in the place of this distraught father. I thought of Zibby in his arms, soaking wet in a flimsy life jacket, afraid. I thought of Ben burying his face in his Dad's embrace..wanting to forget the fear of a sinking boat or even worse...a war torn country and the home he left behind.
And I'm crying.
I feel helpless and far away and so removed from this world problem.
I wish I could help.
They need Home.
The population of world refugees seeking asylum is the highest it's been since World War II. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/06/refugees-global-peace-index/396122/
Since World War II.
And I know it isn't just Syrians...it's Afghanistan's, Somalians, Colombians, they flee from Sudan and Congo, just to name a few.
I've been to Budapest. I've spent time traveling on the trains through Hungary. I'm not Hungarian. I felt out of place and far away from what I knew to be familiar and comforting. It wasn't home. I was not a refugee seeking asylum in Germany or beyond with my distraught family. I was just a twenty year old girl visiting a friend. No one blocked my way. I wasn't looked down upon as an economical burden. I wasn't stuck inside the train with no where to go. I wasn't running away from war and terror and torture and death and destruction. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/11843189/EU-refugee-crisis-Migrants-in-Bicske-station-Hungary-siege-continues-overnight-live.html
I just keep thinking about these people.
Five hundred of them packed together on a tiny boat for five days and nights.
And I can't rest.
An inflatable raft losing air floating from fear to some kind of freedom...or at least a chance at it.
It's life or death for these people.
They die trying to keep their families safe.
I would too.
What can I do to help them Lord?
What can WE do?
Many of them are Muslim.
We are all created equal in the image of God.
Would a Muslim family take in a Christian family like mine?
It doesn't matter.
I really don't know enough to understand the economic, cultural or religious implications...
I just know that I would do my best to feed and clothe, provide for and protect my fellow man from fear and harm.
No matter what.
A little food and shelter won't fix it all for the refugee but it's a start.
Wash up on my doorstep friend.