These people don’t know me; I don’t speak the same language, I don’t worship the same prophets or worship God the same way. We are different: so very different. My life, I’ve known a home on a hill that felt like heaven on earth. The refugees grew up with bombs blowing outside their bedroom. I grew up safe and sound; they grew up vacating violence. How was I supposed to relate to my brothers and sisters who have known everything completely opposite of what I knew?
The camp was dirty. Tents lined up in dusty rows. Women, Men, Children wandering about with no purpose, no hope, no end in sight; little food, little life and little laughter . How could I, a friend from across the globe help my brothers and sisters who were forced to flee their homes? Could I make a difference? Was I wasting my time? Did they need me?
As I looked down I beheld beautiful bright brown eyes of a baby not much older than one. I picked her up, she touched my face, I gave her a hug and in a split second my spirit was melted.
It was in that second that I knew I could do at least one thing…I could love that child, and so that is what I did. I tickled her, blew her kisses, gave her high fives. We danced, we played peek a boo and I taught her about butterfly kisses as I gave some on her cheek. She was joy. She laughed. I laughed. She held my face, I held hers. She gave me kisses, I gave them back. She taught me her name, I taught her mine. I learned more than her name that day, I learned that the greatest gift and relief we have to offer…is simply to love, unconditionally.
Little could I express how I had come to give my love, yet somehow, it was me that was filled with hers. In that instant, I realized there is no giver and no receiver of service. Service is just an eternal and never ending round of love. The giver is as much a recipient as the receiver and the receiver is giving just as much as the giver.
Six porta potties; filthy, stinky, outdoor toilets for 600 of my brothers and sisters. About that in showers as well. 3 faucets of running water for 150+ families. Women in flip flops and socks. Children’s feet cut up and beat. All of a sudden my 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom heated and air conditioned home safely nestled in the United States didn’t seem so bad, so small or insufficient in any way… The stacks of shoes that lined the shelves of my closet became enough and so did my closet packed of clothes. Shoes I wear once a year, some shirts I get to every other….all of a sudden became abundant beyond measure. I went to give to them…..but instead in this moment, on this day, my friends from Afghanistan gave to me something priceless. Perspective.
If you were like me two weeks ago, naive to the severity of this crisis, you can read more about it here
Photos shot with Nikon D810
Nikon D810 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body
Lens: Nikkor 50 mm. 1.4
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Edited in Lightroom
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6