Syria

This weekend my boys and I went to Starbucks to enjoy coffee each other’s company for as long as the baby would allow. As we sat down, I admitted to my husband that it’s hard for me to live in such excess, knowing people everywhere–from our hometown to separate continents–don’t have their daily needs met or live in constant fear for their lives. “We just have so much,” I said. 

“You’re talking about Syria, huh?” Brett responded. 

We’ve been together long enough that he can read between the lines when no one else can. 

*****

One of my students and I somehow got on this same topic of conversation today during my plan period. I keep trying to remember how it came up, but I cannot. I just remember her saying almost the exact same thing I told Brett a couple days ago, and my jaw just dropped. 

“I literally said the same thing to Brett this weekend.”

My student said she just wants to do something, but she doesn’t know what. 

Again–my thoughts and words exactly. 

I told her I have a student who is part-Syrian and that I would talk to her today. 

*****

The end of fourth hour came and I asked my Syrian student some deeper questions about her family and friends left in Syria. We talked well into lunch. 

You all. I read the news. NPR is the only thing I listen to in the car. I consider myself pretty informed on domestic and foreign issues. But being informed is not the same as knowing stories. Nothing I’ve read about the refugee crisis compares to the conversation I had today. Hearing stories from a teenage girl about her family is just different than hearing similar stories from a journalist. 

I’m still not sure how we as a family can help our Syrian brothers and sisters. (If you have any ideas, send them my way.) But I do know that (1) Love and compassion act; they’re not just feelings. (2) Stories stir our hearts and are the pathway to peace. (3) We belong to each other. 

I’m so very thankful and humbled for the students in my life who share their stories and for the students who want know others’ stories and be a part of the solution. 

The future will be bright as long as we raise kids who share stories and care about stories. 

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