Kim and I adopted our son, Wil, from Guatemala in 1993. His mother placed him up for adoption when he was five and it was a good thing she did, because in Wil’s own words spoken to us much later in his life, “I’d be dead by now.”
In order to survive, to eat, he begged and panhandled. School? No way. Sports or any of the other activities kids enjoy? Nope. Wil told us that if he wouldn’t have been adopted, he’d end up in a street gang like a couple of his older brothers and sisters.
There was plenty of poverty and even more abuse. One of the sad stories he shared with us was that he was afraid to play outside because every now and then the guerillas would come down from the hills, take kids- especially boys- and train them to be guerillas. He didn’t want that. I can’t imagine the fear he had, perhaps the lack of hope in his future he faced.
Such a sad thing- the lack of hope.
Many years later at a different high school, an organization sponsored kids from Belfast to come to the United States in order to share their story. Share they did. Some of the same horrors, the same misery, the same lack of future, the same lack of hope.
Within the last week, there have been a series of articles on the children of Syria caught up in the raging civil war in that country. Beautiful kids, boys and girls, kids of all ages. Some with dirt smudges on their faces. Some with bruises. Some with cuts. All with the same fear. The same despair. The same lack of hope that Wil and the kids from Belfast had. All of these kids facing the same desperate future . . . if they even had a future, for their future was . . . is . . . a great unknown.
Through Their Eyes, no hope, no future. Only uncertainty, only the question of, “What will happen to me?” Indeed, what will become of them and the many, many children who come after them?
How very sad.
How very sad to face a future of the unknown. How very sad to face a future without hope.
There are some who might say, “They need to learn about life, that life is unfair, that life can be hard.” There might be others who might say, “What can we do? I am only one man . . . one woman . . . I am struggling myself . . . they are so far away . . . there is nothing I can do.”
Perhaps all that is true. Perhaps.
But, perhaps not.
Perhaps it might not be possible to help all the kids like Wil, to help the kids from Belfast, to help the kids living in Syria. True. I get that.
But perhaps we can love those kids whose lives we touch on a daily basis, on a regular basis, who walk into and around our lives, into and out of our lives. Those kids who sit at our dinner table, who sleep under the same roof, who sit in a desk in front of us. Those kids who, with eager anticipation, wait for us to read to them, or who climb onto our lap and want to be held. Those kids who want us to play catch with them, who want us to sit at the end of the pier and fish with them, who want us to walk through the woods with them. Those kids who want to be heard, who want to be listened to. Those kids who want . . . and need . . . a hug.
Perhaps if we stop to see the world . . . their world . . . Through Their Eyes, we will come to understand what they long for, what they need. Perhaps if we stop to see the world . . . their world . . . Through Their Eyes, we will come to understand what they fear, what questions they have, what it is they truly cannot comprehend nor understand.
And then and only then, if we take the time to see the world . . . their world . . . Through Their Eyes, we can begin to make their lives a better place, a safer place, a more loving place. For them. For us. For all of us. And Only Through Their Eyes. Something to think about . . .