I took a rare moment to unwind during the boys’ naptime last week and actually turned on the television. Usually, I spend their naptime reading, answering e-mails, finishing a blog post, or on a rare occasion, attempting to find the bottom of the laundry pile. However, on this day, I just needed a moment to kick up my feet and watch a bit of mindless television.
However, in less than 30 seconds, my heart was shattered in a million pieces as a CNN news anchor prepped a video clip in which a Syrian mother would be shown holding her dead children.
My honest response? I screamed at the television. I clicked it off as fast as I could. I did not sign up for this.
In a selfish moment of self-indulgence, I had just wanted a moment’s peace and a bit of distraction. But there it was. The reality of all that is painful and awful and hurting in this world, and all while I sat comfortably on my couch without fear of bombings or gas attacks. While my children napped peacefully upstairs in their beds. While other mothers grieved and threw their arms up in anguish.
Whether right or wrong, I could not even stomach the thought of witnessing her pain. Of putting a human face to this horror. I was filled with rage, hurt, guilt, and sadness even as the I stared at the now blank television screen. And now, that mother, whose face I did not even see – whose face I could not even see – still haunts me.
Syria. A(nother) mother whose Hell is right here and now on earth. Where is God in the shattered hearts and streets of Syria?
What do we do as a nation? As a faith community? As a human race?
Of course, there is no easy answer. The more I read and learn about the situation and options, the more I find myself thankful that I do not have to make the decision. And, the more I realize I will not waste my energy criticizing those who will make the decisions, those who will serve, or those who will sacrifice.
So in the spirit of listening and learning first, I want to share are a few perspectives on the situation in Syria which I have found to be very worthy of reading.
5 Resources to Help Inform the Syria Discussion
9 Questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask – This Washington Post article is a great starting point for educating ourselves on the basics, which is helpful because, lets face it,
many most of us are not experts on Syrian history.
Lines Must Be Drawn in Syria – An article for Huffington Post Religion written by UCC minister Rev. Chuck Currie (and fellow Chicago Theological Seminary student in the D.Min program) suggesting that we “pray for forgiveness even as we hope for success” in intervening to end the Syrian civil war.
Syria and the “Moral Obscenity” of War – This Washington Post article written by Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite (who also happens to be a professor of mine this semester at Chicago Theological Seminary) suggests that the act of war rather than the means of war is the moral obscenity we face. I encourage you to read this compelling article calling for peace negotiations.
In which Redemptive Violence is a Myth for Syria – A compelling voice (when isn’t the voice of Sarah Bessey compelling and graceful) rallying us to be the peace makers we are called by Jesus to be, with some tangible action steps.
I’m Not a Pacifist (though I used to be) – A thought-provoking blog written by another favorite blogger of mine – and someone who has lived in Kosovo and who has seen the aftermath of civil war and US intervention.
As I tuck my own children in to bed, I will give pause to thank God as I touch their still warm cheeks. But I will also grieve. For that faceless mother (and all the faceless mothers) who cannot. For those in Syria, for those here at home, and for those all around the world as we fail to live out God’s kingdom in the here and now.
Forgive us, Father. We know not what we do.