How sublime a day it was today because you can taste the spring in the air waiting. We will know it is time when the Canada geese begin their symmetry in the sky and clutter the winds with their raspy singing. The moon in early evening sits high in the sky to remind us of eternity and our insignificance, while down here on the planet we scramble and play and make war and all the voices of all the human beings that live here are just whispers to the universe. We struggle and we love and we play and we die. We are each a singular journey sweet with memory, inattentive to the present and wistfully dreaming to an end we do not know.
I cannot find the world anymore sometimes for it horrifies me. I have to force myself to sit back and watch the children play and hear the giggle of babies and touch the soft fur on my fuzzy little dog to re-remember that it is not all bad. It is not all bad. That there is laughter in the hope and there is hope in the pain. And not everything is forever. And why would we want it to be?
I read this week the Guardian newspaper from the UK that "It has been a quieter than average week in Syria. More than 400 people were killed in the unimaginably awful siege of eastern Ghouta, most of them civilians. But in the seven years since the regime of Bashar al-Assad set in motion the Syrian civil war, almost 500,000 people have died – well over 1,000 a week.” My mind understands. My heart does not. My spirit cannot accept this but that is what it is.
I am apolitical. Mostly perhaps from ignorance. I don’t know who is right and who is wrong. I don’t know what in all honesty is going on over there. I know that all of the various entities playing out their games of war have all, each and every one, promised to protect and save the people. They’re not doing a very good job. Not one of them. What does the little child covered in dust from a nearby bomb too frightened and shocked to even cry say to these leaders about peace? What could this child say? It makes no sense. It is irrational to the heart. One small child. One very big world of rationalizations. Greed. Scrambling. Survival. Profit. Democracy. Power. At what price? At what price? And for who? These terrorized people?
It feels like, it looks like, it is quite arguably genocide.
The Syrians are left as refugees in flight, dropped into bits and pieces of places all over the world for those who will take them. Scatterlings. They bring with them no doubt fear, suspicion, anger and pain. This kind of stuff is not fixed overnight. I was asked why I was choosing to teach these refugees English and I say that I want this family, just this family, to know that we do care and that they are now safe. That they will not be hurt, that their children will grow up to a country that will not physically harm them in any way. That they can breathe again. It is a hard thing to explain if they have not known it for quite awhile. Perhaps they think that is just a dream. It is hard to know.
I am aware that the father in my refugee family has experienced torture and imprisonment. I don’t know by who or why or where and do not ask. The story does not go with this funny extroverted gentle man who so obviously loves his wife and children well. They tell me that their country is like a pizza. It is being cut into slices. It is crazy says the father. I agree. Is there anything crazier than this I don’t know? But that is politics and I am there to teach them what the word breathe means so that when the doctors tell the mother in labor to breathe she will know what they are saying. I say it also in French so she will understand.
This little child will be a big baby. He is still not quite ready to come out into this world. I want to say to him that it is okay now. You are safe here. I, for one, will not let you be isolated, judged or alienated. As long as I can and I have no idea how long that will be, I will teach you in what small way I can. And if not you, then at least your parents. Some of the refugees in Quebec, if they learn enough English will find work in Ontario where there is more opportunity and will possibly move back. But as long as I can, and with great hope I want them to know that not all people judge and/or discriminate. That they are welcome here. That people in Canada have good hearts and don’t wish them harm. I want to believe that.
These refugees don’t necessarily bring fear, suspicion, anger and pain. They may have all that. They also have strength, strong will, intelligence and fortitude. They also have laughter and kindness and love. I think this little baby that will be born will grow up and watch the Canada geese fly overhead perhaps all the days of his life. I want him to smile when he does.