From a lost home in Baghdad to a refugee camp in Serbia, Lamar sleeps on the frozen forest ground.

From a lost home in Baghdad to a refugee camp in Serbia, Lamar sleeps on the frozen forest ground. Photo by Stockholm photographer-journalist Magnus Wennman @ India Times

I am saddened by what I witness in the world. Silent pictures tell stories of refugee children, some with shards of shrapnel in their delicate bodies, all of whom have lost everything they’ve ever known.

I see my children in those faces tortured by anguish and I want to hug them. I want to hold them and reassure them as I whisper in their ears that I know, “I know it’s not okay right now, but someday it will be.”

Screams and blood-dripped clothing shatter the illusion of safety. Cities, countries are torn by grief as I watch, worlds away, in helpless dismay.

It is not okay right now.

There are unimaginable horrors in the world perpetrated by people who love their children, too. There are evils done in the name of religion, and evils condoned by people I love. I wanted my children to grow up not knowing war. Not knowing the effect it has, even half a world away. But I see my children in every bloody face and every glazed eye. I feel their mothers’ hearts clench and die a little bit with every explosion. I feel their fathers’ anger as they take up arms against the children of other mothers.

There is no right side of war. There are no victors. As one mother loses her child, so every mother loses a piece of something precious.

My grandfather, a renowned psychoanalyst, taught me many years ago that, sometimes, everything is not okay, but to keep breathing, keep doing the right thing, because one day it will be okay again. My heart breaks for what I see in the world today—the damage, the carnage, and I weep.

I weep because I don’t know what to do or how to begin. How do I hold the hands of those whose children have died as they have faced unimaginable terror? How do I tell the mommas whose children lie injured or dead that those bombs that exploded their bodies and exploded their lives were not dropped in my name, even as I see the blood on my own hands. How do I begin to make it right? How can I use my passions and my skills in my privileged corner of the world to help alleviate their heartaches? How can I even begin to make right all the atrocities committed?

I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. Except to say that I must let my light shine. I must offer what I can with the love that I have so that someone may smile today. To offer my hand in comfort to whomever is around me. To say out loud that I love you.

Mommas—I love you. My heart bleeds, not just for you but with you because your loss is my loss. It is the loss of all of us who call ourselves “mother.” And it is to you and for you that today, I teach.

Today, I read to my children. I tell them about the suffering in the world, the suffering that is your life right now. Because they need to know. They need to know what other parts of the world look like. And they need to know why their momma is crying. And they need to know that the big bad wolf really does exist and what we can do to take care of each other even when the wolf is there, waiting for us. And they need to know that sometimes that wolf is us and we need to find it before that wolf finds others.

And they need to know that in our own corner of the world, we can do something, even if it doesn’t feel like much. We must do what we can.

So we teach. We plant food and watch our seeds grow. We greet our neighbors with kindness and we welcome others to feast on the foods we prepare. We always have enough to share.

Today, we are not okay. A tragedy in the world is an injury to us all. And an avalanche of tragedies leaves little to hope for. I might not be able to take hold of those precious refugee children and hold them and breathe their worth to them. I might not be able to hug the mommas as they grieve their deceased or injured, as they mourn the loss of everything they have known. Behind the helpless tears, I know the answer.

It is to let my light shine despite the darkness and to teach my children to do the same. To give the hope to those most in need—the compassion of empathy—and to say “I know, today we are not okay, but one day we will be.”

Liz Reitzig

Food is the Foundation of Liberty. Nourishing Liberty is where we plant seeds for ideas to grow and flourish A place to be inspired by each other, to join together in peaceful activism, to build community.

Wherever you are in your personal journey toward clean living and local food, thank you for joining me in mine. I look forward to sharing it with you.

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