For the most part I have been a second tier supporter of our congregation’s involvement in the Syrian Refugee situation. Many others do the heavy lifting. Currently, the congregation has brought one family to the city; more on the horizon.
The focus of the work rightly needs to be upon the well-being of the family, the provision of a safe place – physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually – where they can heal and rebuild their lives.
That said, it is almost impossible not to be aware of many dynamics.
What strikes me the most is the almost miraculous dance between the declaration of a need and the delight of a person with a specific skill set or network to respond with abundance.
- The family arrives at the airport. The father is not well. One of the people in the welcoming group was a physician before she fled Syria and is now working on her Canadian accreditation. She looks at the condition of the father and on the way from the airport they stop at Emergency. He has an appendectomy later that night.
- The support team learns that the teenage son is an excellent soccer player. An email goes from a daughter of the support team to a friend detailing the need for equipment, team and opportunity. The word goes out through a network; coaches and players respond.
- The two carry-on suitcases and two plastic bags that accompanied the family of four obviously does not include furniture. A member of the team spots a bedroom bureau in the congregation’s Thrift Shop; it needs repair and refinishing. The need is expressed. And a member of our Introvert Club responds, “I can do that.” The bureau is loaded in his truck and the bureau will be one more offering blessed by a particular skill and passion.
The list grows longer daily. People search out high quality clothing that meets the needs of each family member. Translators appear and make connection. Schools work to customize specific programs for students whose last three years have been spent in a refugee camp.
In many ways, the multitude of hands reaching out reflect an image of the best of people and of Canada. Gratitude and amazement form the appropriate responses.
And yet a part of me cannot help but notice that generosity, compassion and abundance were set free by the identification and declaration of needs that, if met, would make a real difference.
So a small challenge grows in the midst of my amazement and gratitude. Can I be as specific and bold in the declaration of what I need that would make a real and significant difference in my life?
Can I be as specific and bold in the declaration of the real needs of my family and the organizations of which I am part? Clearly the criteria must be a legitimate need that would make a transformative difference.
I wonder if I have the courage to think that deeply and declare that boldly. Or am I too easily distracted by an easy accommodation to comfort, convenience and consuming?