Thankful for abundance of America

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 9, 2015

“We are human! We are human!

As I walked today, I thought about the people screaming those words as they tried to board a train to a better life. An article explained the refugee crisis unfolding in Europe; those people crying, “We are human.”

“Today, more than 19 million people have been forced to flee their home countries because of war, persecution, and oppression, and every day an estimated 42,500 more join them.”

Estimates are that 2,500 people died this summer attempting to cross the Mediterranean in hopes of finding a better life.

Most of these people left places that are now unfolding nightmares of cruelty, destruction and death. I don’t know about you, but I’d do whatever, run wherever if it meant saving the lives of the people I love.

This is not a new problem; however, it is finally getting attention because it is spilling over the borders of the countries where horrific things are happening. The article put it this way.

“When children die in Syria, that rarely grabs the developed world’s attention — sadly, and unjustly, it has come to seem routine. But when they die in the back of trucks in Austria, or in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Greece, that feels much harder to ignore.”

And, many countries are not receiving refugees with open arms. In fact, some put them in camps with conditions so awful they defy description.

(I find it ironic that Germany, the country once known for death camps, seems to have the moral conscience when it comes to the refugees, and is permitting them to apply for asylum directly.)

The article noted the United States has for the most part ignored the crisis. I guess it is so far away — how is it our problem, right.

Of course, this comes when immigration policies and illegal immigrants are in the news. As this story pointed out, allowing people from new places into communities brings change and change is a scary thing for lots of people if it means what they know in their every day lives will be touched by that change.

Still, how can we turn our backs on our brothers and sisters who cry out for help? How can we call ourselves a compassionate people and ignore the suffering we see every evening on the news?

Those cries of “we are human“ are a wake-up call for us to see each other in a new light, the light of connection rather than separation. If we believed what happens to one of us affects all of us, we would embrace rather than run from those who scream out for our attention.

Today, I walked a path in this lovely place I live. I felt the wind, heard the bird songs and experienced my breath moving in and out. At that same moment, another human was breathing in a place far away from my home. Perhaps he or she was hungry, sick, or scared. Maybe a child slept in a mother‘s arms while that mother worried about how she would feed her baby when he awoke. I could be one of those people if I were born in a different place.

When I see the tears of refugees as a reporter tells the world about their crisis, it breaks my heart. At the same time, it reminds me I am blessed — how thankful I should be with every breath.

We should all offer a continuous thank you that we have all we need every day. Notice, I didn‘t say “all we think we want.”

I don’t know what I can do to help these refugees, but I know right here at home, I can practice kindness. I can offer my heart in service when I see a need. I can try to be an open channel for grace since it is by grace that I live an abundant, blessed life.

I can remember we are all human and deserve to be safe and loved.


Nancy Blackmon is a writer and yoga teacher.