If you find the Black Friday-CyberMonday holiday shopping frenzy a bit overwhelming, here’s something to get your head screwed on straight today.
Yesterday, I got an instant message from a yoga teacher friend of mine, Chris Kourt.
He had just been in Lesvos, Greece, where up to 7,000 Syrian refugees each day…let me repeat… 7,000 refugees a day…. were landing on the beaches. Most are from Syria, but others are from Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea….
What really woke me up was seeing the above picture of a refugee.
This could have been my son, your daughter, our neices and nephews.
Chris Kourt shared what he saw firsthand in Lesvos:
“Tragedy and heroism line these beaches; mothers have given birth on the beach after landing, children have drowned…
“Recently, one Iraqi father jumped out of his overloaded boat into the frigid waters and dragged along next to the boat for almost an hour, fearing that the boat would sink and take his children down with it (they all just made it).
“Some who get off the boat cannot walk because they’ve had a 250 pound person sitting on them which can break bones or lead to circulation issues.”
It’s a HEAVY topic. But this is happening in our world.
Our grandkids will grow up and learn about this in history class and if the United States turns its back on these people, our grandkids would have to wonder…
Not to mention good old karma, which endures through generations.
As Rabbi Julia Neuberger pointed out in a recent sermon at the West London Synagogue, around 150,000 Jews, often fleeing pogroms, arrived in Britain between 1881 and 1914.
An anti-immigrant group called the British Brothers’ League declared then that Britain could not become “the dumping ground for the scum of Europe.”
“Yesterday’s ‘scum’ often proves to be the invigorating lifeblood of renewal.”
Now I realize some of you are saying: “Look what happened in Paris. Even if one terrorist sneaks in with the refugees, we are fuked! And why the heck are you writing about refugees Yeah Dave? Isn’t this a little off subject?”
I wouldn’t be in this country if my grandparents, Jews escaping the holocaust in Europe, were not granted safe entry to America.
They were “yesterday’s scum.” And so I guess that makes me scum too.
Maybe your grandparents also received the gift of life in America?
Don’t get me wrong. We need to CRUSH terrorism.
But a fear-based society is a terrible way to live.
If it’s not terrorists, it’s health. If it’s not health, it’s your career. If it’s not career, it’s money. If you live in fear, you are always on the run.
And on the run is very much the story in Lesvos, Greece right now.
Study the picture and you’ll see innocent kids, grandmas, babies, loving moms, hard-working dads.
If they can just make it to the shoreline…if they can just find shelter…if they can just find food for their family…
If all these holiday sale emails were making you feel like what you don’t have is far greater than what you do have…tell that to the refugees, not just in Lesvos, but all over the world.
The simple awareness that today, there are 50 million refugees around the world who are fighting to survive…. should be enough to make us STOP, take a breath, and say thank you for the gift of life.