There are refugees who have been bombed out of the only homes they have ever known. While I am uneasy because 90% of my things are packed into a storage unit; there are human beings whose only possessions are those they can carry in their hands. While I have a lease that ends in three months, they have been living in refugee camps.
There are lots of different opinions about this issue. There are passionate people on both sides. In the end, I truly believe that 99% of these people want the same thing: safety and security for their families. We just have differing opinions about how to go about doing that.
For me personally, I tend to reflect on the pure luck of the draw that had me born safely in a hospital in Austin, Texas, versus another child on the same exact day as me who was born into a mud hut in sub-Saharan Africa or another who was born in an igloo in the Northernmost latitudes.
Let's just suppose for a moment that there were three girls born into those conditions on that day. Are all three of those girls married with kids? Do they want that in life? Are they able to be doing meaningful work in their lives in whatever way they choose to define that? Are they looking forward to turning 40 next year? Are they dreading it? Have they even made it this far?
I'll never know the answers to those hypothetical questions. Just like I'll never know why I was born here, and they were not. Do those other women deserve peace, hope, and happiness less than I do? I don't believe that. I think in a deeply troubled world, I just got lucky being born into a less-troubled part of it.
It overwhelms me to think about my own problems and then to compare them to the problems others are facing around the world. I want to engage and stand up for those who don't have the privilege that I do. But I also know that I have to be able to function in my own life and be present to my own family.
I want to do what is right and stand for justice. I want my children to understand the privilege they have. I want to be upset by the state of the world. I want to sleep well at night so I can get up and stand up again tomorrow. I want to help without feeling so overwhelmed. I want people to understand that when everyone is yelling that means no one is listening.
In the end, I prefer to go down as someone who loved too fiercely, who trusted too freely, and who showed compassion too often. Only then will I feel good about my decisions and actions.
If you're the praying type, please pray for peace in our world and the softening of hearts. Take a minute to listen and actually try and understand someone who leans in a different direction than you. Can you pull out an agreement? It might be way back at the very beginning of the disagreement. Try to look for factual information and not just sound bytes and memes. And when you start to feel overwhelmed, it's okay to step back and take a break. It seems to me that there are plenty of people to hold up the fight for a little while.