My child is cuddled up on the couch with a steaming cup of milk with vanilla and a croissant as I sip my coffee slowly.
The lunches have already been made, lined up on the counter like little reluctant soldiers, sagging slightly in the middles after 9 months of use. It is the first time in months there is no flashing headlines across the bottom of our screen to the tune of news anchors sing-song voices. I am not watching the news today.
Not out of ignorance, defiance or anger. I know. I know about Berundi and Nepal and Baltimore. I know about the executions in North Korea and Indonesia. Part of being a key-holder- a follower of Christ- requires the knowledge of His planet, His people. We are commanded to love- to love our neighbor, and our enemy. How do you go about that without knowing first who they are? What they are doing?
I am not closing my eyes to shut out their stories. The images are painted on the lids of my eyes. It’s this thing I’ve been both blessed and cursed with since I was born- empathy is not strong enough of a word to describe walking into a room and feeling what everyone else is, all at the same time. I feel the growing panic of the young mom watching her son play too closely to edge of the train track. I feel the joy/despair/longing/concern/apathy of crowds. Being a teacher made me a student of body language, but this thing, this ability to feel things, has always been something other. Something, mine. Something, utterly consuming and often exhausting.
So, the morning feature of the mother searching for days through the earthquake rubble for her only child has looped over and over in my body until it broke wide and open. The idea of an elderly couple being unable to receive life sustaining medication because their neighborhood drugstore is burning. The thought that I’m sure their souls are marred by the smoke and the realization that the fight they thought they fought so long ago so their grandbabies didn’t have to is still not over. The young men who have had enough of being unfairly treated. Those trying to be instruments of peace but their uniform visually unites them with negative connotations- those trying to protect the ones who remain. The despair one feels when it becomes apparent that there are a great majority of those that by their words and by their actions convey that certain lives, simply, don’t matter. The last flashes before death is imminent at the end of a gun or a club, for believing in Jesus or justice or freedom or all. They are weighing so heavy today that I could hardly sleep. Hardly drag my feet off the hardwood floor to fall onto my knees.
Today, I am praying each town, each country, each name I know and don’t know. They fall with the tears down my face into the earth where I’ll plant seeds in the ground, making holes to place my hope and trust. Praying it takes root like the plants. Praying for us humans that we remember who we are and why we’re important. Praying we remember our covenant. Praying for wisdom. May your heart be moved by the crying out of our neighbors, our enemies. We are to love them both. Let’s ask Him how, together.