Yesterday I was listening to the news as I was driving home from work. Sitting in my air-conditioned car, ambulating myself home on my own timetable, I heard the report of Syrian refugees who had been stopped in a train station in Hungary. Attempting to get to Germany by train, the issues of borders and politics and governments had stopped them in a station. To avoid being forced into a refugee camp they had refused to get off the train.
And so they were still in the train. All day in the heat. And then into the night. Men, women and children.
As I pulled into a gas station and turned off the key and the news, I was struck at the intense contrast of where I was at that exact moment, and where they were. I got out of my own car. Swiped my debit card. Filled up the tank of my personal car with fuel. Got back in, turned on the key, drove to my home. A nice house in the country of my birth, in a safe neighborhood where I live as citizen in freedom and security without fear. My children are waiting for me there. They are watching TV. We sit on comfortable couches, eat dinner, use computers, talk, and go to bed in our comfortable beds.
This is utterly unfair. It is unfair that I should have a home, and they should not. It is unfair I should have freedom to go anywhere I want, and they do not. That I can offer my children security, education and a future, and they cannot. I did not do anything to deserve to be born in America any more than they did anything to deserve to be born in Syria.
I lay in bed, thinking about them. What can I do to reconcile this sense of unfair contrast? I care. I pray. I fall asleep. I wake up this morning and wonder. Are they still on the train? I roll over on my Egyptian cotton sheets covering my pillow top mattress and reach for my iPhone to check the news. They are, as far as I can tell. I feel slightly too hot. I go turn down the air conditioning, use my private bathroom, and return to my comfortable bed for a few more minutes.
I wonder if someday I will be in a disaster or a crisis like that and someone will be reading about me on the news. What would I want from someone on the other side of the world completely unable to help?
I would want them to know. I would want them to care. I would want them to pray.
I do all those things. And I go back to sleep.
(I also wake up, do my research, and find that I can donate online to the refugee crisis through the reputable Samaritan's Purse.)