Photo from msnbc.com
You saw it. Maybe you scrolled right passed it. Maybe you cried about it. Maybe you were offended that someone shared it. What is it? It’s a picture of a dead toddler. That’s right; a little boy who should be in the arms and sights of someone to protect him is lying in the sand having washed up on shore because he drowned while his family was trying to migrate.
This is important. I want you to look at it. I not only want you to look at it, but I want you to really let it sink in. Maybe picture your own child or another child that you love.
I want you to grimace and I want it to sting. We, as a people, need to add some compassion in these situations. I've always heard that if you are kidnapped or faced with a murderer, you should try to humanize yourself because it makes it harder to complete such an atrocious act when you are faced with the realization that it's an actual person. It’s easy to yell about immigrants when you’ve never met any. It’s easy to pass judgment and to get caught up in the lie that all these people who are lazy, or criminals, or somehow lesser than us because they inconveniently were born somewhere else. It’s a little less easy to do any of those things when you look at a picture of a dead toddler…or at least I certainly hope it is.
I encourage people to share this photo. It isn’t pretty and it isn’t necessary. But, it can be a call to action; even if that action is on an individual level.
I’ve seen some repulsive comments. I actually had someone I know call me a “F@cking moron” when I reposted a piece about compassion in regard to immigrants. In my heart of hearts, I can’t handle it. I can’t sit in my air conditioned home with my meal delivery services and my house cleaner and my kid’s toys strewn all around and in those same moments protest that there isn’t enough to go around.
I often ask people, What would you do if you lived like that? Which is typically met with some self-righteous remark about doing things legally (as they are patiently scurrying around bombings and corrupt government officials I am sure) or a complete deer in headlights look as they realize that they have no remote idea what they would actually do. The latter was my moment.
In a moment, I thought of my daughter and what I would do if she couldn’t bobble around and be her silly self for fear of being raped or stoned as some form or punishment or simply because she crossed paths with the wrong person. I thought of my middle son and how he can relish his childhood and how his biggest fear is the dark and how he has no concept of true tragedy. I thought of my infant son and how I can entrust him in the care of someone while I work and I spend every morning and evening cuddling him and making him laugh and how he knows nothing but the love of parents who protect him.
Then I thought about what it would be like if I couldn’t do that.
What would I do if I couldn't protect my children? I ask that any parent reading this stop and think about that. What would you do if someone ripped your child from your arms and harmed them right in front of you and nobody was there to help. Would you get yourself killed and leave your other children with no parent at all in a world like that? Would you cry and feel helpless? Would you be filled with hatred and revenge and further complicate the problem? Would you cry for compassion? Would you pray to whatever higher being you believe in and request that someone, somewhere, provide you safe haven?
I imagine that every single one of you would hope that someone would help you. So why is it so easy to throw those thoughts out the window as soon as someone says the word “immigrant?”
I won't bother talking about the international treaties for refugees, or remind people of history lessons from the 30's when countries turned their backs to innocent Jewish people.
Instead, I simply ask that you take a long moment to linger on this photo and put yourself in someone else's shoes. Then let your heart guide you from there.
I stumbled across this little tidbit the other day while surfing the web and it resonated with me. You see, I'm a "Good is the enemy of great" kind of gal so I was definitely surprised at how liberated I felt when I read this. Maybe it's the season that I've been going through or something, but I've been searching for contentment. I have been actively pursuing it and didn't even realize it. When I read this, it was like a boulder had been taken off of my shoulders. I was trying too hard. I think it was the result of circumstantial adaption. I have been going, going, and pushing and working for so long that I think I didn't realize what it feels like to just be. Just be a mother, not a struggling mother. Just be a lover, not a starstruck lover. Just execute my job, not execute myself for my job.
Like most everything I do, I was already in full-on plan and go mode, looking for what I need to do before the stall even opened for the task at hand! I accomplish one thing and am already looking on the horizon for the next thing. That's how I live. It wasn't by choice but, instead, for survival. I firmly believe that I wouldn't have overcome my adversities without that tempo...but, how do you just stop?
How do you know when something is good enough? I thought I'd just get it and everything would magically feel right. Maybe that happens for some people, but it didn't for me. As I reflected on this quote, I realized that a lot of my stress has been a result of my pursuit of perfection. My goals start out innocent enough and then, somewhere along the line, they take steroids and max out on a bench press...or you know, they just explode!
I'm not saying that you shouldn't pursue greatness but instead, that you should set out to define exactly what that greatness is so that when you reach it, you can actually enjoy it. It's easy to keep pushing a finish line back and in a world full of pinterest posts, facebook competitions, and bombards of in-your-face examples of how perfect everyone is, I think it's easy to get lost in the pursuit.
As for me and mine, I have finally accepted that good is good enough and I'm a lot happier now because of it.