Fasting for Gratitude.

I stood this morning ironing our church clothes while my four and ten year-olds rolled around wrestling together on the floor.  Even though things are peaceful in my home this Sabbath morning, my mind keeps swirling around the plight of the refugee family I have been reading about on CNN.  I am just as guilty as the rest of the world.  I really wasn’t paying attention to what was happening over in Europe until this week when little Aylan Kurdi’s photo made its way across the internet waves.

Here is a more pleasant picture to view:

His family was fleeing the fighting in his native country.  They decided to cross the boarders by boat, his father, mother, a four year-old brother, and Aylan (3).  The father said that the boat was overcrowded.  He asked if his family should get off and wait.  The smugglers said their passage was ‘guaranteed’.  The mother was afraid of the water because she did not swim.  They wore no life preservers, because there were none.  The sea was unruly, the drivers jumped over board, the boat capsized, Aylan, his brother, their mother all drowned.  Now their father, alone, simply wants to sit by the grave of his children and read to them the Qua-ran.

They were simply seeking a better life, away from the fighting.  Somewhere to call home and have peace.

By mid-day yesterday, Austria had let in 11,000 refugees.  Hungary has been overwhelmed by the number of refugees arriving in their homeland everyday, migrants on their way to Germany.  Austrians cheered and handed out food and water to these people as they made their way over their boarder.  It is an humanitarian crisis.

I have to ask myself, would I be one standing on the boarder cheering?

I hope so.  I pray so. 

I contemplate and wonder how this is much different than the saints traveling across our country in search of freedom, freedom to practice their religion as they pleased.  How is it different than when our ancestors fled from the various countries they did and came to America in search of freedom, or peace?  How is it different from those in our neighboring countries who are sending their children across our boarders fleeing the corruption and drug wars happening in their countries?

Do we really appreciate what we have here in America?  Do we respect the freedom and peace we experience and reverence the lives of the men and women who bought that for us?  Are we willing to share it?  Do we extend those blessings to others of our brothers and sisters across the globe who do not have such blessings but only desire that for their children and their children’s children?  Will we open our hearts to them?  How about our homes?  I pray that is something I would do.

Today on this beautiful and peaceful Sabbath day, I am praying for their safety, thanking my Father for those blessings in my life, and thinking about what I might be able to do and teach to my children so they understand those magnificent blessings in our lives.

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