I was having one of those pity-party days for myself, in a rotten mood because of inconveniences and annoyances. Total cranky case-of-the-Mondays. Maybe we’re all entitled to a grumpy day every now and again, but the antidote is almost always perspective.
Thankfully, my car radio is almost always tuned to Iowa Public Radio, which lends a lot of perspective. I think they’ve done a great job covering the refugee/migrant crisis in Europe. When I hear the voice of someone who stood in line for 36 hours in hopes to escape war in Syria and build a new life, my heart re-calibrates and I have to feel ashamed for moaning about noisy construction in the office next to mine.
I’m not going to get on a soapbox here, but I just wanted to share how important getting outside ourselves can be. Tears well in my eyes when I see the very real image of a toddler boy — he could be my toddler boy — drowned and washed up on a Turkish beach as his family desperately scrambled for refuge. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by numbers and distance and feel you can do nothing.
I’m working on a Refugee Mental Health Conference right now, as a result of getting involved with a Refugee Health Sub-Committee through DMU, and so the stories of families on boats and beaches is hitting a little bit closer to home as I meet so many amazing people in our community who are dedicated to resettlement and refugee services. When we upgraded our bed the other month, instead of Craigslist or putting the mattress and box spring out on the curb, we contacted the USCRI and they picked it up and took it directly to a family in our community who was moving into a new apartment.
Tragic news is an opportunity for us to explore our own compassion. I love this story about how more than 11,000 families in Iceland have offered to open their homes to Syrian refugees in a bid to raise the government’s cap of just 50 asylum seekers a year.
This Mr. Rogers quote is one of my favorites: