Thirty-five years after the fact someone honestly remembered. The writer’s description only begins to tell the story of death and carnage. What happened decades ago in a war most people want to forget has been alive in the memories of those who live. I wonder if there were any witnesses who still tell the story to those who have long tired of hiring it. I wonder how many sleepless nights have come and gone for those involved. I wonder who still carries the forbidden memories.
For many the sights and sounds of what it means to struggle for survival is beyond the fringes of their imagination. Is it possible that people live on less than fifty cents a day? Could it be that some children have no idea of what it means to be alive and not abused? Does anyone really understand what it is like to see life through a dusty haze without even the slightest sign of hope? The harsh reality is that the average wage of those in India is just slightly more than fifty cents a day. Child abuse is so rampant that denial is the natural reaction even for the simple documentaries on the subject. Children in the Gaza strip are now on their third plus generation of living with unemployment, war, and imaginations that cannot even dream of hope with compassion or mercy.
The question for you and I is one of empathy. Don’t worry about the Gaza, rural India, or the slums of the big cities. Pause and wonder aloud about how much understanding and insight you have in the lives of those closest to you. See life for what is really is, but don’t lose hope! Know the emotion that Joel experiences as he sees the devastation is his nation. “The farm animals groan—oh, how they groan! The cattle mill around. There's nothing for them to eat. Not even the sheep find anything.” (Joel 1.18)
The God of Compassion is an answer to what you cannot fathom or truly understand. Empathy begins with you, God, and me.