Some weeks feel big. Big emotions, big events, just big. When I told my husband I had found many reasons to cry that week, he kindly suggested I may be pre-menstrual. He currently still has his head but I’m not committing to anything long-term. The kids went back to school yesterday and aside from failing to do the first day at school photo (I’m aiming for the first Monday at school photo – I promise it is a real thing) they both got there in one piece.
Walking back from dropping JJ off I wept. Firstly I was nervous for him, desperately hoping his new teacher would ‘get’ him. Wishing she would quickly see his strengths and not be too stressed by his weaknesses. Then I was saddened that a summer with lots of good moments had passed.
I looked down and was hugely grateful for the baby sitting opposite me in his buggy (I promise I’ll tell you more about his arrival some time soon). Then overwhelmingly I felt relief. I was delighted to have got through the toughest season in my year. As I’ve written before, the summer holidays are a bigger drain on me than any other time.
Once home I boiled the kettle and flicked on the computer; savouring quietness and space for the first time in weeks. Suddenly an image of a three year old boy face down in the sand flew into my kitchen and all my earlier feelings felt small and insignificant (I can’t face sharing the image). The enormity of the crisis in Syria and the refugees fleeing war has, up until now, felt too big to comprehend. Then in one picture the truth came crashing into my warm comfortable house. The horror of families fleeing their home, work and communities was distilled in that one heartbreaking image.
A mother had lovingly dressed her son in bright blue shorts and red top hoping she was leading him to a brighter future.
She feared the bombs and bullets so much she was prepared to risk the lives of her family in hope for something better. I simply cannot comprehend her life and anguish.
I felt sick and cried even harder. I was swamped with feelings of impotence and sadness, gratitude and determination. On a day when my newsfeed was full of smiling ‘back to school’ photos that picture entered my eyes and will never to be forgotten. The chasm between two worlds felt insurmountable and I didn’t know how to marry them.
As hard as life feels it is sobering to remember how cushioned and comfortable I really am. So I started reading about how people in the UK can help. Whether petitioning the local council and parliament or committing to housing a refugee and donating money, it seems there are many ways anyone can say “This is wrong and needs to change.” in both actions and words. Here are a few useful links I found:
So now I’m challenged to ask how much am I prepared to allow these two worlds to meet.
Were my tears heavy enough to change how I spend my money and who I welcome into my home?
How will you respond?