While having my morning coffee, I watched a father with his children teaching them how to fly a kite in the park across the street. Then I saw another father teaching his young son how to ride a dirt bike in the grassy meadow behind my house. A little later, while it was still cool enough for such activity, there were teenage boys playing basketball in the court in the park. I reflected upon the joy these children were experiencing, and then thought of the fun some of my own children and grandchildren had last week playing and boating on Lake Austin. You can see by the slideshow on the right that there was no shortage of good times. Family and friends spent several days at the lake -- some even staying in the RV (air conditioned) and popup camper.
Sadly, there are children all over the world suffering right now from wars, poverty, and violence of all kinds. How can our hearts not be touched when we hear about and view such images of these precious children? The ongoing conflict in Syria has left many children dead, homeless, and refugees. We have all but forgotten their plight as so many new atrocities are being inflicted on children in other parts of the world. The fighting between Hamas and Israel has killed or injured over 400 children in Gaza so far. Today I read somewhere that Israeli children have also been killed.
What are these children doing for fun? Even when they are sent to a supposedly "safe" location like the U.N. shelters, many have been injured and killed. Some entire families have been destroyed. Do they dare play games outdoors? Is there room for basketball? Will they ever get to fly a kite again? Will they ever laugh and play again after all the bloodshed they have witnessed?
Here in Texas, uppermost in our minds are the children who are crossing the border from Mexico after a long, perilous journey
These young people beginning their trek across the Rio Grande are not looking for summertime fun like our family recently enjoyed on the lake. Most just want to escape the extreme poverty and violence they are experiencing in their own countries. Many wish to join with parents or other family members who are already here in the States.
The hate groups are having a field day. Someone forwarded a video made by a former border patrol agent that made some of the most ridiculous claims ever about the surge of Central American immigrants. He even suggests that they have been sent here as some kind of insurgency conspiracy... filled with diseases to infect the population of the U.S. One disease he mentions is the Ebola virus! When one discovers there has never been a case of Ebola in Central or North America -- only in Africa, and that the three countries, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala have higher rates of vaccinations than even we have here in the U.S., you can see where this is going! To suggest that it is all a deliberate plot is far-fetched, even for the right-wing extremists.
If our government cannot pass legislation to help this situation, at least they can keep from doing harm to the innocent children. The overwhelming majority of both the House and the Senate profess to be Christians. How then do they rationalize when it comes to the teachings of Jesus Christ in regards to "love thy neighbor"? When asked "who is my neighbor", Jesus replied with the parable of the good Samaritan. "Jesus refuses to define who a neighbor is. Instead He asks a question proving something greater than the exact answer anticipated. Being a neighbor to someone is not limited to family relations or proximity. It is showing the love of God to all who are in need: whoever they may be -- wherever they may be." This quote is from a Christian ministry site. For those of you unfamiliar with this parable, you can read it in the New Testament, Luke 10:25-37.
“…but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’” – Matthew 19:14 (NRSV)
I am ever grateful that I was born in America, therefore, so were my children. I am even more grateful that my children and grandchildren not only are blessed with freedom and good health, but also with many of life's luxuries, even in these difficult economic times. And we each are blessed with an abundance of love. Most of the children in this essay are not so blessed. What can we do to help them? What are we doing to help?
Peace, love, and blessings,