As we wrap up our Thanksgiving holiday, I can't help but wonder where the world's children are this morning. Where are they sleeping, fresh from the rafts which carried them fear-ridden across the raging seas? How far have they walked seeking shelter from the wars? The wars of drugs and religion. They line up at our borders by the tens of thousands, hungry, while we give thanks for this land we have taken as our own. We glide our fingers across this atlas and know that this world hurts everywhere, everywhere.
We hurt here, guilty for the safety of our homes and the abundance at our tables. They hurt in El Salvador, where sweet children are kept indoors all day so the gangs won't find them, recruit them, offer them a life more abundant; a life of killing and deception. Random shootings litter our news screens right here at home. Meanwhile in Syria, a mother prays for safe passage, choosing near-certain death over the guarantee of torture and possibly an unimaginable ending.
Four children under my roof, but I find myself wondering: how many more could we keep safe? A life full of to-do lists, community building, and aspiring to change the world.
I think we are all asking: What is our role here? How do we react? Respond? What can we do to help heal the hurt?
I'll tell you what I've been doing, though it seems it is never enough. I focus on my own peace project-- these four souls who watch and listen to my every word and action. This holiday season I will spend more time sitting with them on the floor, I will take the time to teach them to speak with kindness, yes even when I feel impatient. I will have more tolerance, I will practice it in these ares: the noise of children, the messiness of children, and the chaos of the house. They will all be a part of our beautiful love-filled space rather than the irritant or chore list they could otherwise become. I will focus on what they truly are: gifts to my life, little souls finding their way in our big, messy world. I will fill them with hopeful stories without shielding them from the world's truths, so that they might know how very much the world needs them to grow up loving, working for change, and instilling hope in others.
This is how I will do my part. My children are my greatest peace project; if I can raise them knowing what it feels like to be truly accepted, if they can see that differences can be appreciated and tolerance cultivated, if they can feel those things deep into their bones than perhaps, just maybe, I will have done the world a bit of good.
There are paths to wider-sweeping change, to be sure. But when I think of these four and the lives they will touch either for good or for ill, I know there is no deeper change I can create. My hope is we can all find our own corner of the world to heal, even if it's just within the four walls you call home.
I hope you each had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that your holiday season is filled with hope. I'd love to hear your intentions for changing your corner of this world.