I’m aching to be a candle of light

Many of you will have seen the video of six-year-old Alex from New York on Facebook reading a letter he wrote to U.S. President Barack Obama about the boy in Syria.
He asked President Obama to bring Omran Daqnees to Scarsdale so Alex can give Omran a home. In his letter, Alex cited all that he and his sister, Catherine, would give to Omran: a family, shared toys, safety, help, understanding.
The images of Omran in the ambulance are haunting. The everyday reality of war and destruction that has been the whole of this wee boy’s life is staggering.
What is this war about? But what is any war about, other than power and greed; war that forsakes the innocence of children, sacrifices their promise, trading their hope like a commodity.
And yet, in a sea of cynicism and distrust that the world has become, the rest of us clinging to what is ours, Alex’s voice is loud and clear; his message of love and acceptance, of sharing and respect, is a candle in the darkness.
A single small light to remind us of our humanity—a humanity that needs to be wakened from its deep sleep of indifference.
I wept when I saw that tiny boy alone in the ambulance in Syria; blood pouring from a head wound, tears washing through the dirt caked on his face from the rubble he had just been pulled from.
He sat alone and afraid in the ambulance; his trauma and loss unfathomable, difficult to watch.
I felt shame about the complaints I wield about my dog being sprayed by a skunk or about a deck repair that has claimed my summer, as if these inconveniences could be considered a burden. The annoyance of them a mere whimper—a hangnail—compared to what others face on a daily basis; their lives in peril hour after hour, day after day, year after year.
And I ache to make a difference; to somehow be a candle of light to others. To be an Alex.
This is my 300th column with the Fort Frances Times, an honour for me to feel connected to this piece of geography that defines me. A privilege to be given space to wax poetic about the conundrums in my head, in my heart; the thoughts that wrestle with my peace of mind.
I thought I might have something to laugh about, something silly to say, as though writing 300 columns means anything. But I can’t stop thinking about the image of Omran and children like him, the numbers far too great, and I feel inadequate.
I want to pull this child into my arms and keep him safe; to give him all that I have to share, blessed to have four children who grew up safe, safe from bombs and shelling blowing their neighbourhood apart.
In my comfortable home, in my simple life of writing, I don’t want to forget that children like Omran exist.
I don’t want to be complacent in a world that seems challenged to remember we are all in this together; we are connected.
wendistewart@live.ca

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail