‘Tis the season.
I’ve been ordering Christmas gifts for my grandchildren today while children at America’s borders were being assaulted with tear gas. One grandson wants a Harry Potter Illuminating Rod. No problem.
I’m planning tasty treats for my family to sample this weekend while children in Yemen are starving. Children are starving all over the world, but in Yemen the numbers defy belief: 85,000 since March of 2015.
Before leaving Myrtle Beach yesterday, I told my youngest granddaughter that I couldn’t leave without a hug, and as I reached down to put my arms around her, she said, “And a kiss.” Today I’m thinking of all the children separated from their parents who would love a hug from someone who loves them.
I held a hymnal with my son yesterday and sang, “Because I Have Been Given Much,” a favorite of mine, and afterwards I walked right out and did nothing for anyone. Nothing outside of my own narrow sphere, that is. Today the words are haunting me.
Because I have been given much, I too much give.
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live.
You might say, “Yemen is a long way away from here, and those people are sooooooo different from us.” Yes on both counts. And yet in church yesterday I was reminded that everyone is our neighbor, near and far, even globally. And that we’re commanded to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” And yet, we seem to be getter meaner and less loving each day.
And those people at the border. Yes, they’re attempting to come in illegally. That shows how truly desperate they are to have a better life, the same thing our forebears wanted when they came to America. I’m rusty about the legal vs. illegal part, but I do know what they (our ancestors) did to the Native Americans. I once heard Susan Sarandon say that America was built on the near decimation of the American Indian and on the backs of slaves. She’s bolder than I.
I’ll never get the image of the scared screaming barefoot child in diapers at the Mexican border out of my consciousness. But I can write. I can say, “That ain’t right, Bo” a phrase one of my husband’s cronies used to say. That ain’t right. Some might take offense and say these people are paying for the sins of their fathers. Please. Don’t. Go. There.
And those children who’ve died in Yemen are the ones under five years old. Better and more knowledgeable thinkers than I say the United States’ support for the Saudi-led war has triggered the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. I can’t force our leaders to enter peace talks or to withdraw support for the war. But I can send money to a relief fund. So can you.
Listen, I taught psychology for forty years, and I know about defense mechanisms that make us feel better about ourselves. And then there are those pesky attitudes that play into our thinking—illogical fallacies, mental heuristics, and biases. I’m as guilty as the next person of not always seeing things clearly, of justifying my own thinking.
But none of that matters when it comes down to this. Like it or not, we’re all children of the same Creator, and there’s no way to ignore or rationalize the horrors of world and national events.