Thursday, August 14, 2014


This week, I'm thinking about the children that were on the mountain in northern Iraq. I've read a few articles (this article last week, this one and this one as of yesterday) and then the other day I heard a journalist reporting from that area specifically about the children who were hungry and dehydrated. It's a terrible situation. And there are so many more terrible situations happening around the world where children are trapped, hungry, thirsty, cold, or without proper care. I'm not thinking about the political aspects of these situations, at least not this week. This week I'm thinking about how there are children who are born into a situation where they can't get water and how my daughter has been born into a place where clean water is plentiful and where she is so well cared for. I have these thoughts often as I watch my daughter grow - that she is so very lucky. Yes, I use that term tentatively, and also avoid using words like "blessed" for this sort of thing, because by implication does that mean those others aren't? I don't want to assign holier-than-thou descriptors to this, I want to acknowledge what is, and then point to what my reaction should be. In that, I'm not going to be stuck on the why, but the how; as in, how should I respond to this? 

Last weekend, my mom, Sloane and I went to one of the concert series in Dogwood Dell Festival of the Arts (free concerts all summer long!) to watch a performance by Richmond's City Dance Theatre. Taking Sloane to watch a dance performance or a music show or to see paintings by the masters makes me feel like I am handing her magic powers.  I hope she loves these things too and that it fills her up like it does me.  That night, she was entranced by the dancers. Once the show started, she sat there for the next hour, captivated.  I spent just as much time watching her face as I did watching the dances. 

And these girls of the City Dance Theater were so wonderful and earnest in their movements. Their dances and songs told the stories of American slavery, and they portrayed it beautifully, heart-achingly. Sloane obviously can't grasp the gravity of the themes right now, but I was struck by how important it is that she gets to be exposed to an expression of something real and difficult that has happened in our world, communicated in a beautiful way.  In addition to introducing her to the beauty and the magic of this world, I want to walk her through the realities of this place. Slowly, in bits and pieces, but also starkly and truthfully. 

So I'm still thinking about the 'how', especially because I have this beautiful spirit and she is going to face all these things someday too. I'm thinking about what I will tell her, and I think I'll say: Let's give of our resources, and let's stay mindful. Let's get lost in thought and lost in prayer about what is happening in the world. Let's discuss. Let's dance.  Let's enjoy, express and be responsible. I'm still figuring things out too, I will say, but I will tell her that there is a purpose and a joy in clinging to a higher plan.  I will tell her that gratitude helps quell cynicism and bears hope. 

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