Their Children, Are Our Children: My Response to the Syrian Crisis

This blog is an extension of me. I have a wide range of interests, which is why you never know what you might find yourself reading about here at His Girl Friday. I love to share fun things with you. I love sharing stories about my family and our life. I love encouraging and inspiring others. But sometimes, life brings heavier topics into my mind that I just can’t shake. Those too, are shared here.

This post is coming at you later in the day because, this week has just been crazy. But I didn’t want to let this go one more day. So even though this isn’t your typical, “happy Friday” type post, I hope you’ll read it and give it your thoughtful consideration. 

There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.

Charles Dickens

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.

Charles Dickens

The Syrian crisis has been weighing heavy on my mind for the past few weeks, but I haven’t really known how to process it all. Honestly, it mostly just makes me sad. I’ve tried to educate myself on the facts. I’ve listened to the news outlets that I consider honest and read reports from trusted sources. I’ve read blog posts. I’ve listened to pod casts. You get the gist.

And then I watched Norma Rae.

For those of you haven’t seen this iconic seventies film, Norma Rae is about the formation of Unions in the textile mills of America. Specifically, Norma Rae is about one woman’s audacity to stand up for what she believed, to fight for what is right, and to champion for the right’s of others.It’s powerful. It’s insightful. And it really makes you think.

It doesn’t matter what your opinion of the current state of Unions in America is, because that’s not what the film is about. The film is about the real and pressing need for the protection of the unprotected in textile factories at that time, and those lessons and values, are timeless.

At one point in the film, labor activist, Reuben is having a conversation with factory worker, Norma Rae and he says something that I haven’t been able to shake since I watched the film almost two weeks ago. He says, “Somewhere between logic and charity, there falls a shadow.”

I was so struck by this when I first heard it. It was one of those thoughts that I found so compelling and thought provoking even though I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since, especially in light of all that I’ve been hearing about the Syrian refugees.

I’ve heard a lot of well reasoned arguments for not helping out. For not opening borders, for not taking people in. There has been so much practical rhetoric that it just about makes me sick. As I see it, logic, is overshadowing charity.

As a mother, I have experienced time and time again the reality that charity is rarely ever logical or practical. Take motherhood, for instance. The sacrifice I make to be a stay at home mom doesn’t make financial sense. The sacrificial love I extend to my children defies logic. And, I have to tell you, the personal and physical sacrifice I’m currently making to create new life is not only illogical, but also quite painful. Love doesn’t make sense. That is part of what makes it so powerful.

As news of the Syrian crisis started to make it’s way to my door, I couldn’t help but put myself in the peoples’ shoes. Namely, the mothers. I pictured myself with a baby in my belly and a baby on my hip, while a toddler clings to one hand and my other hand grasped our few belongings. I imagined the weariness of travel, and the terror at desperately trying to not only preserve my children’s lives, but also my own. I wondered with horror how I would feel if I was turned away from safe borders with such brutality as tear gas and night sticks. How I would feel to be so desperate. What would I say? What could I do? I imagine all that would be on my lips would be the heart wrenching plea, of “please…please…”

I think the thing that disheartens me the most about this situation is the cold, very logical terms in which we are discussing whether or not we will help. In particular, I’m disgusted that the same people who would champion the rights of the unborn in one breath would turn around and question the practicality of saving foreign human life in another.

If you read, “My Best Yes,” then you know that I am 100%, unashamedly pro-life. But I’m pro-life across the board. All life. Yours. Mine. Theirs. I believe all life should be valued, protected, and preserved. I don’t care how different you are, how foreign you appear, or how much your values contrast mine. Your life was given to you by God, same as mine, and as such, has incalculable value.

I read one woman’s blog who said that we can’t just think about them as “their children” (the Syrian refugees). Their children, are our children, she said.

I think this is so true, and gets to the heart of what bothers me so much about how we are responding to the crisis.

Like Rueben’s comment to Norma Rae, there is a shadow between logic and charity. Charity is rarely logical because not only is it a response of the heart, not the mind, but also because it comes at a cost to the giver. Logically, it doesn’t make sense to give. Logically, it doesn’t make sense to take someone in. Logically, we take care of our own, not others. But we are not purely logical beings, we also have a heart and a soul, and they guide us to the much richer, deeper, and purposeful actions of charity and love.

You might have a million good, sound, logical reasons why we shouldn’t help the Syrian refugees, and no one can really argue the validity of those reasons. But I’m not here to talk about validity today. I’m here to talk about charity and love. I’m here to talk about light in the face of darkness. I’m here to remind us that sometimes the best decisions we make are the most illogical, or come at the greatest risk. I’m here to remind us that we aren’t just a head and a brain, but we are also a heart and a soul.

Don’t let your logic overshadow your charity.

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