“Faith is homesickness. Faith is a lump in the throat. Faith is less a position on than a movement toward, less a sure thing than a hunch. Faith is waiting. Faith is a journeying through space and through time.” – Frederick Buechner
This week, images of a lifeless little boy washed up on a shore have outraged the world. As they should.
I’ll be honest. At first I couldn’t look at the images at all. They reminded me too much of the image of my own little lifeless boy, and even knowing the picture existed raised my heart rate. Then, today, I made myself look at it. I made myself acknowledge this is happening right now, in my lifetime. Families are running away from chaos and into dangerous uncertainty. My mind went immediately to all the pictures that are never captured by professional photographers, all the mothers carrying their own indelible images just like mine. All the mothers who did not have the tremendous advantage of trained professionals to save their children’s lives, the fathers who board a boat one life vest short, and must gauge which child would stand the best chance of survival if he fell. At this very moment there are parents making excruciating, unimaginable decisions to try to save their children’s lives. And mothers who died this week alongside their toddler boys, never living to see their personal tragedy played out on CNN. May light perpetual shine upon them.
If we’re going to use social media to encourage, to connect, to feed our insecurities, to spy on people we used to know, to say “me too,” to live and work and relate in our modern world … if we’re going to use social media for all of these reasons at different times, let us also use social media to say, No. I will not accept the death of refugee children as collateral damage of war. I will not skim past this image and pretend it doesn’t exist. I will not ignore what’s happening on the other side of the world. This little boy will not die in vain. Not on my watch.
I’m making myself look. I’m asking you to do the same.