by Chris Raymond
These images made me stop and think. Finally.
News images of desperate people in rickety boats – women, children, fathers, pregnant mothers, families – fleeing violence at home have frequently made me avert my eyes. What could I do? They were floating toward what? Possible escape, possible death, probable internment camps? The pain and suffering on the faces is almost too much for me to bear. So I look away.
A friend captured these images on a recent trip to Copenhagen. From a distance they looked almost like huge, clumsy stained glass windows in a church. And then she got closer.
(Photos courtesy of Gwen Aldrich)
Lifejackets…discarded and crammed into windows that weren’t going anywhere. Like the boats they drifted on dark seas to escape violence and persecution.
The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei created the exhibition at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg museum with more than 3,500 lifejackets worn by refugees and left on the Greek Island of Lesbos. He wants to call attention to the situation – or rather, the humanitarian crisis.
It definitely got my attention.
I know my financial contribution can help (see below for suggested links); but is there more action to give? From experience I know how important it is to think, really think, from a spiritual perspective first. This website, InspiredtoGive.org is all about the inner motivation that inspires individuals to do good for others, the values-driven or spiritual impetus that shapes ideas into productive action.
SO HERE’S MY SPIRITUAL INSPIRATION FOR TODAY
The mandate and progress of human rights is derived from the divine right of every life to be rich with equality, justice, freedom, peace. All the forces of heaven are impelling the action of good to make this happen: to be provided to those who need it most – by those who can most give it. Equal rights, human rights, divine right! This is the principle of divine Love in action, the divine authority that inspires and guides the good intention inherent in each person. Love lead me to work on the side of divine right. I have good to give.
“Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written,
Nothing left over to the one with the most,
Nothing lacking to the one with the least.”
(The Message, 2 Corinthians 8:12-15)
SUGGESTIONS FOR SUPPORT
International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee is a group highly rated by charity trackers and professionals that helps refugees at every juncture. The group has worked to set up a reception center on the Greek island of Lesbos, where many Syrians seeking refuge in Europe land after traversing the dangerous route — often on rubber dinghies — from Turkey.
Oxfam America is helping provide Syrians in their home country — as well as in Jordan and Lebanon — with clean water, sanitation and other vital items. That might include cash and supplies like blankets and stoves, or vouchers for hygiene supplies. They are also helping families get information about their rights, while connecting them to medical and legal services.
Save the Children
Save the Children helps refugees in several ways, by providing emergency aid and health care and rebuilding damaged classrooms and supporting schools, inside Syria and in neighboring countries. The organization supports schools and health care facilities and runs child-friendly spaces for children affected by the conflict, offering them a sense of normalcy.