On this particular weekend day, it was a somewhat normal collection of activities. We had gone grocery shopping, taken Julia, my daughter, to her horseback riding lesson, made our way to the the suburbs of Naperville to be spectators to a youth soccer game, planned to go out to dinner as a family and watched 7th grade boys tumble into our basement to watch a movie.
In recent months, I started using our drives together when I shuttled kids around to listen to “This American Life” on NPR. In all honesty, it was an attempt to quell the common fighting in my car and to somehow distract my 12-year-old from the constant, slumped over attention to his iPhone that was driving me crazy lately.
Julia, Patrick and I had listened to a series of programs that told the story of what it was like to live in refugee camps all around Greece. So I figured it was likely that the kids would be interested in the story about a Somalian refugee living in Kenya. Abdi, the refugee, gets the luckiest break of his life: he wins a lottery that puts him on the short list for a U.S. Visa. So the story goes . .
On this quiet winter day, when I have a list of things to do, I can’t help but think and remember those who live in very different and dire situations than my family. Those who live with fear and uncertainty of their future and their family’s future.
I feel the polarized parts inside of me. The part that genuinely aches for people in our city, our country and world right now. The other part of me that sees the comfort in my life and even the entitlements I believe I am owed as an American: quality education, health care, job security, and neighborhood safety.
I know that something will grow with this ache. Something that will inspire my hands and heart and help ease the suffering that is unknown to me, but not to my fellow human beings.
What would happen if tonight when we quietly go to sleep, we take a few deep breaths and offer peace for those who do not have a comfortable bed to lay their tired bodies on to rest.