I cry easy. It’s no secret, always have done. Most Saturdays, as we snuggle up and eat pizza and watch a kids film, at some point, I’ll cry. My husband will laugh gently and hand me his hankerchief, as he does, mostly kindly, whenever the tears leak from my eyes at ridiculous moments. Unless we’re in a restaurant. At which point he’s whispering across the table at me – half-jokingly – ‘please stop it, they’ll think I’m being mean to you.’ (which he isn’t by the way, we’re probably just talking about the refugee crisis…)
So I know I’m easily moved. But I’m not kidding you when I say I sat and watched these two short films this afternoon, all alone in my kitchen, and sobbed my heart out. And not gentle, tears-rolling-quietly-down-my-cheeks crying, but big, loud, uncontrollable sobs, like some-one was ripping my heart out and jumping up and down on it unceremoniously. I’m not sure I remember when I last cried so hard. It was that bad.
I sat and watched them and felt heartbroken, and then so very, deeply guilty; because I realised I was so moved by this because – honestly – the little girl in that video reminds me of my own little girls.
It’s a clever marketing stunt that takes something remote and places it squarely within touching distance, makes it us; our families, our neighbourhood, our safety that is compromised. In news reporting, a journalist would call it proximity. The closer a story is to an audience, the more likely they are to respond to it emotionally. And respond I did.
And then after the guilt, the absolute wave of terrifying impotence. The sitting-in-my-comfortable-house and God-what-can-I-possibly-do hopelessness.
I’m still processing that.
I’m not writing this tonight because I have any wise words or easy answers, for myself or for anyone else. I’m writing, I guess, because it’s the only thing I can do.
I thank God tonight that my own children are tucked up safe and warm in their own beds, and that we are not living with war or poverty or hunger here, today. And I pray for the people that are suffering and the organisations that are out there, doing the hard work on the ground, serving, helping, giving.
But most of all I pray that it will stop. And in the meantime that God will keep moving my heart and that we will never become immune to the horrors that are going on all around the world. We can – despite our feelings of helplessness – all do something. But only if we are moved.