I didn’t see you at Wal-Mart. We didn’t give each other a knowing glance as we shopped for groceries with our children. You weren’t in line behind me as I waited for my morning coffee. We didn’t have a moment or share encouraging words while our children played at the park.
But I see you.
I see you as a fellow mother whose world is full of horrors I hope to never experience.
This morning, while I complained about not having the right sugar for my coffee, you hid with your family.
When I tossed leftovers that we wasted into the trash, you dug for scraps to give your children and went hungry yourself.
As I looked online and daydreamed of a bigger home complete with a home office and Jacuzzi tub in the master bathroom, I convinced myself that we do not have enough space in our home. You cried because you have been displaced and have nowhere to call home, no space at all that belongs to you, no inch of earth that is your own.
I came home and needed a minute to myself after a long day at the office. A job that I could only have due to my education and opportunities that have been afforded to me, a woman. You struggle to read because your desire for education has been thwarted at every turn.
I kissed my boys goodnight and stroked their hair, taking for granted that they will sleep through the night without fear for their safety. Meanwhile, your son, who is the same age as mine, washed up on the shore lifeless and alone, never knowing what it meant to be safe as you tried to escape evil. Your heart is shattered into a million pieces as you did everything that you possibly could to save him.
My husband came home from work and sat on the couch beside me then hugged and kissed me. You received word yesterday that your husband was beheaded for his Christian beliefs.
I think of what it would be like to have a daughter and the things we could do together – paint our fingernails, buy dresses with headbands to match. You have an endless knot in your stomach for fear that your daughter will be kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery as she nears the age of nine.
I must admit that it is hard to see you. It is much easier to shelter my heart and to shield my eyes than to truly look at you. There are times when I find myself playing the martyr for no reason at all. You show me that I know nothing of hardship, nothing of persecution. You force me to be raw, real, and honest in my self-evaluation.
I realize that the designer purse I have been longing to buy is ridiculous. While there is nothing wrong with buying a purse, I am hit with the reality that the amount I would spend on that one unnecessary item alone would most likely feed your family for the better part of a year. I am ashamed and embarrassed by my material arrogance.
You have shown me what it means to have unshakeable faith. All you have left is God and you cling to him every second of every day because you know that He is enough. This world has done nothing but take from you and you place no value in things of this earth. You have forced me to look full-on in the face of unspeakable terror – to look beyond myself and all of this material weighing me down. You have challenged me to embrace my faith at all costs. To love with reckless abandon and give freely of all that I have.
We may not have a mother-to-mother moment in the middle of Wal-Mart, but I am determined to reach you. There is so much that this world can learn from you.
I see you and I love you and I will not turn away.
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