“I wish I could unsee that,” I thought. I knew that my reaction was selfish. Naïve. Irresponsible.
The photo of the Aleppo boy took my breath away. I mean it literally had me instantly doing this shallow pit-of-my-stomach breathing as I looked. And then looked away. And then clicked the photo closed.
But my breathing didn’t get easier and my thoughts didn’t clear their cache as easily as my browser did. No magical “X” in the corner of my mind to remove the wrenching vision of that little boy. Who represents so many other little boys. Girls. Babies. Men and women too, who were born on a particular part of the planet where they wake up to airstrikes blowing up their bedrooms.
This morning I woke up to a cool breeze coming in the window and the smell of coffee from the programmable pot down in the kitchen.
The news has numbed me to the point of seeming indifference. The world is too big and the problems too large and I am one person. How many times do we say that? It doesn’t make it less true but I confess that it provides me a “cushion” of sorts. A cushion that covers the chafe marks of the larger world around me. Granted, I cannot take it all on or I will lose my mind. But I cannot turn away completely, simply because it is overwhelming. I can and must show up.
The world is too big. But our God’s healing and mercy are even bigger.
The problems are too large. But our God’s faithfulness is larger still.
I am one person. But by God’s grace I can take on a portion. I can take on a portion of praying for a people I will never meet but who I am called to love. I can share this little boy’s burden by praying for him and so many like him. Where will he lie his head down tonight? Who will hold his hand as he navigates the rubble of his city? Will he have anything to eat?
I can take on a portion because I do not take it alone. God goes before us in all things. When we pray. When we reach out to a hurting person. Or even when we do nothing, which after looking into that little boy’s eyes, is not an option.