Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dear Nameless Boy -

Edit: The boy has since been identified as 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi.

This picture of you ravaged the world yesterday. (Link includes a graphic image that I decided to keep off my blog in order to give you the choice whether or not to click and view it. I strongly encourage you to choose to view it, because the world needs to see - really see - this photo.)

You stopped me dead in my tracks and yeah, the world isn't sure how to go on.

But then we will.

And I'm sorry, sweet little boy.

I am so. angrily. horribly. sorry.

And that sounds pretty pathetic and oh how worthless it is to you now, but I somehow have to say this anyway, for the sake of those that will come after you.

I'm sorry that we will solemnly shake our heads at that photo of you - today's top story - at six o'clock and then enjoy laughter and family time at the dinner table at seven.

I'm sorry that this week we're ready to cry an ocean of tears, and next week you'll be but a distant memory as we, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, embrace the first week of school and the flurry of activity that comes with it - things you'll never have the opportunity to know.

I'm sorry that as my country's leaders campaign to become the most powerful person in this country, we are more concerned with scandals and with pensions and with daycares and with rich guys and a squandered 90k than we are with you. I'm sorry that you and your people aren't a big-ticket campaign issue and I'm sorry that my people don't care enough to demand that you are.

I'm sorry that we think you're the government's problem.

I'm sorry that being sorry just simply isn't enough.

Because sweet boy, I'm downright embarrassed to tell you that as more than 2500 men, women and children just like you have perished on the Mediterranean this year, here in my homeland - a place of luxury that you could probably only dream of - we've been "fleeing" our own homes to go on vacation. We've been up in arms about a lion. We've been seeing who can make and try the craziest foods at my city's annual exhibition. We've been arguing with each other over the saddest, most pathetic things.

Oh, I squirm while saying this to you - we've been living mindless lives instead of loving you until you're simply able to live.

We've filled churches on Sundays while you and your people filled boats and sailed straight to death - and are we really being the Church or just filling steepled buildings hollow?

Because we're full of empty good intentions and real-sounding excuses when we should be full of the love of Christ. 

And sweet boy, this is my apology, this is my outcry, but mostly this is my confession. 

Because while that mortifying picture of you should anger me and convict me until I'm nothing short of doing a radical thing like boarding a plane and personally escorting a family like yours to safety*, the embarassing truth is that I'm probably going to tap out this blog post, retweet a few links, maybe make a donation, and then forget while I go to university to learn how to save the world when what really needs saving is you.

Here is the truth, tiny little nameless boy: I don't have the answers.

My soul aches a thousand aches to say that. I don't have the answers. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to save you and I don't know how to end a war that is continually pushing more and more of your people into the same situation as yours.

And I will never understand any of this while I am on this side of heaven.

Here is where I would usually write something to the effect of What I do know is that I serve and cling to a Jesus who has already overcome all the brokenness in this world.

And yes. Yes, I do. I certainly, most definitely do. That is always and enternally humanity's blessed hope.

But for your people that are still bobbing on the Mediterranean, I'm not sure those words are enough - unless my people act on those words like they are true.

And for my people that are still mindlessly bobbing around our luxurious world, I think those words might be too much - we take them as a licence for inaction when we actually have a role to play in overcoming the brokenness of this world.

Nameless boy, I feel like weeping as I say this all to you.

And I simply hope and pray that you did not die in vain. That your death would, if not convict us, then embarrass us to action.

*So maybe that get-on-a-plane plan is not the smartest or most sustainable. But if you are feeling a little radical, this link is for you. Or, you can donate here to help Mennonite Central Committee bring the hope and love of Christ to refugee camps in the Middle East. Or, you can get involved with an organization in your city like Matthew House Toronto, people who are welcoming and supporting new refugees to the city. Or, there's this letter that Ann Voskamp wrote and this community that she's started over on Facebook… a whole bunch of people coming together to say that we will welcome refugees with the love of Christ, now let's figure out how.

Man, was this ever heart-wrenching to write. I think I'm a bit of a bad writer today for not having a better point at the end, but I just needed to get something out to shine a light on this. Yeah, it can seem bleak and hopeless, but I meant what I said: We serve a Jesus who has already overcome... now let's start acting on those words like they're true. At the end of this blog post, I still don't have the answers and I still don't know what to do. But we can start by doing what we can and doing it as though it were for Christ himself. Let's start there, and maybe - just maybe - we'll save some nameless boys and let them know that He knows their name.

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
Isaiah 43:1


  1. Dear, sweet child...I see Jesus working in you and it is an overcoming light to the hopeless. Be blessed in His name.

  2. Sister, my heart is aching too. Thank you for writing, for praying, for being.

  3. Amen! Love your words dear sister in Christ! I love your heart for Jesus and for others! Shine on dear friend, shine on and your light will fill this empty dark world with His light and love! Thank you for making a difference!!


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