Right. I have had a thought (don’t faint, all of you – it happens every once in a while)..
The last wek, I’ve purposely been trying to carve out space to mourn and to grieve. And I’m glad of it, it’s been important, and I’ve discovered things about myself and my faith I’d never really thought of.
This week, I’ve been mourning two children. One unborn, but very loved. The other born, but whos journey ended far too quickly.
Here’s the thing. I mourn them – very deeply, but I can’t change things for them. I can’t change the way things turned out, though I desperately wish I could.
I can though, choose to honour them both. By changing lives for other children, I can help to make sure these two won’t have died in vain.
So this week, I’m going to tell some stories. Stories of children across the world that I’ve known. Children who’s defied the odds, who’ve faced up to things no child should ever have to face.
I’m going to share their stories, and honour them. But I’m also going to tell you what you can do to help change things. Because I passionately believe we can all change things. No-one is too little. Everyone gets to play.
In a land far away, where the desert and the cities and the river and the sea and the sacred spaces all exist, lives a little girl called Rachel.
Rachel is 7 years old. Her parents come from the USA, but they moved to Israel before Rachel was born. They were excited to be living in the land of their ancestors – a land where they could truly live out their faith.
They chose the wrong town though. Because all day, Rachel has to listen out for a certain siren. When she hears it, she knows she has to go to the bomb shelter. She knows that people are sending rockets at her town, yet again, and she has to hide to be safe. Day and night – the siren can go off at any time.
Rachel doesn’t really understand what’s going on. She doesn’t understand the geopolitical atmosphere, and she certainly couldn’t spell it. She just knows she isn’t safe.
A few miles away lived a little girl called Sara. Sara was a tiny little bundle of energy who ran her parents ragged, and loved, for some reason, watching silly cartoons in English. She loved life.
But she wasn’t safe either.
Even though she and Rachel lived just a few kilometres away from each other, they were seperated by a whole universe. Because, for reasons that made no sense to either of the, their adults – the ones who were meant to keep them safe – hated each other.
So one day, when the bombs were falling, Sara and her mother went to shelter in a nearby school. They never got out.
And the thing is, we watch it, and we don’t think we can change it. We can though.
We can donate. Take a look at http://www.shevet.org, an Israeli charity which organises vital heart saving operations for children in Gaza and Iraq. Or Children of Peace, which promotes frindship between Palestinaian and Israeli children.
Write toy our MP, or to the Israeli ambassador, or someone. Do something.
And take the time to build friendships in your own life. Honour and love the other. Because when we do, we realise they’re not so other after all.