What Dummies Like Me Can Do #RefugeeCrisis

refugee

Yesterday I woke up on the right side of a warm queen sized bed, carelessly threw on a pair of fifty dollar American Eagle jeans that I bought brand new with with rips and holes in them, skipped a hot shower because I didn’t feel like blow drying my hair, jumped in my baby blue VW Cabrio convertible, and drove to a local cafe. There I bought a gourmet bacon, egg, and Vermont cheddar cheese breakfast sandwich and a steaming hazelnut flavored coffee.

I hugged and kissed old friends I ran into at the coffee shop. We made a bit of small talk and exchanged warm smiles. I sat on my computer and wrote for three hours with only a few friendly interruptions from kind and familiar faces. A sick friend sent me a text and asked if I would pick up her medication at the grocery store. Sure, I will grab a salad there while I am at it, I thought. It was raining and the coffee shop was a bit muggy so I decided the light rain would cool me off. I made a run for it and realized I was in no hurry and my clothes would dry quickly. Even if I got soaked, I could run home and change into another fifty dollar pair of jeans.

I arrived at the grocery store, made myself a salad from the bar, just the way I like it, sat down and enjoyed my meal. As I walked to the pharmacy on the other side of the store, I noticed all the fresh fruits and veggies, the aisles of chips and cookies – the choices seemed almost unlimited. I waited in line at the pharmacy for five minutes, picked up my friend’s medication with no hassle whatsoever, jumped back into my car, and drove over to her house.

My friend lives right beside the the high school I went to and the kids were just getting out of school. As I watched them walking in their sports jerseys, I could not help but think about my high school years and how much fun I had. Those were the good ole’ days. No real worries. No real bills. I had a great high school experience. Even though I hated actual class, I must have received a good enough education from my public school to make it to college and graduate from seminary. I was a blessed American teenager and I realized that even the poorest kids walking out of my high school are blessed to be American teenagers too.

I am not good at geography and I just started really paying attention to current events about a year ago when I began blogging, but I have become more aware than ever what is going on in the world. It’s not good folks. Our world is facing an unspeakable amount of suffering and those of us who enjoy living in first world countries are struggling to relate. It is not entirely our fault, but when we struggle to relate we tend to focus on much less important matters.

Our world is facing the greatest refugee crisis since World War II and if you are anything like me, you have no idea what that actually means.

Many times we ignore current events that are not in our own country because we just don’t get it. We have good intentions and it really does break our hearts that people are suffering, but we have not a clue what to do about it. Therefore, we easily dismiss the pain of others and today’s news becomes less important than deciding what we will have for dinner tonight.

The first step to truly feeling the pain of others is to seek a deeper understanding of what is really going on. We often feel ashamed that we have to even research or ask what is happening, so we don’t. This is why I love this article I found for dummies like me that is entitled “The Refugee Crisis: 9 Questions You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask.” Find the article HERE.

Every human sympathizes with different causes and social injustices, but I learned yesterday that this refugee crisis has so many horrific consequences that every human being with a soul will find something that makes them tick. For me, this paragraph from the article above stirred me to make a move towards compassion:

It’s not hard to understand why Syrians are fleeing. Bashar al-Assad’s regime has targeted civilians ruthlessly, including with chemical weapons and barrel bombs; ISIS has subjected Syrians to murder, torture, crucifixion, sexual slavery, and other appalling atrocities; and other groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra have tortured and killed civilians as well. The civil war has killed a shocking 250,000 people, displaced half of the population, and caused one in five Syrians (4 million people) to flee the country.

I cannot begin to understand what it is like to have to leave your home, cross an ocean on a boat, settle in some sort of refugee camp that is extremely dangerous and full of unspeakable happenings. Then, just having to stay there and hope to God someone saves my life while wealthy first world countries throw on their ripped designer jeans, sip their hazelnut coffees, eat their gourmet breakfast sandwiches, do their work in peace, exchange happy conversations with their friends, pick up their medications from the pharmacy, and watch their kids walk home from school safely. No need to feel guilty for being blessed, but let’s be the Church Jesus has called us to be and take action.

Find practical ways to help HERE.

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God

(Leviticus 19:33-34)

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