… a dark heaviness draped the morning’s sunlight. Breakfast on the patio turned sour quickly. I could not get my mind… or was it my heart, around the pictures being shown on the phone screen before me.
Hundreds of young men running for their lives, clinging to plane wings… I watch with helplessness. I can’t see any young women. What can I do? What should I be doing? Surely there is something for me to do. I must help…
But as most of us do… the scene changes. Life goes on, and we waltz through another day.
Or do we?
Today a part of the world hides in fear, “Now, night is coming, and we are worried. We have turned off the lights in our homes.” A former worker with the international community in Afghanistan shares. (Intelligencer, August 15, 2021). One news source described the scene at the Kabul airport as one of desperation, sadness and panic.
And while millions were hiding, I spent hours trying to find the owner of an uninvited dog in our garage. Trudging from one veterinarian office to the next, asking if the picture on my phone had been reported as one missing seemed so trifling in this sad day.
As mundane, silly, even… as my day unfolded, I had a sense that I was doing something positive, something worthwhile… for a dog.
This dog, maybe a mixture of Rhodesian Ridgeback, Red Heeler or Australian Shepherd… a lovely canine, trained, and lovable, stole my heart in just hours of her arrival here. Was she dropped off by a former owner, now tired of her. Or has she run away and can’t find her way home? Is our home an oasis for strays… remember Walter, the homing pigeon… … found. a new home… Though we are not prepared to care for a dog, we want to make sure she is cared for.
“Many residents of Kabul now wait at home in quiet dread. Whatever their variety of circumstances, everyone is trying to find a way to safety and deciding what to do next.” Intelligencer, August 15, 2021
Some may know the truth God is near them, with them. They may trust the words, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You, in God, whose word I praise, in God, I trust. I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:3,4. I wonder if they have heard the words, “On my bed… in these dark, fearful nights… (italics mine), I remember You, I think of You through the watches of the night. Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:6,7,8.
But you know what? I doubt many know the promise of His love and care. And they are much afraid.
Yes, the plight of a stray dog pulls my emotions, and I yearn to ‘do something’. But the dilemma of a people causes a crisis in spirit; my helplessness weighs heavily on an already broken heart. It matters not their religion, nor their Covid status. What matters is their hearts are full of fear… for their lives, for their families. Fear for their tomorrows.
I went to sleep last evening remembering a young man who had fled from Afghanistan in 2004. Sleeping in the day hours, walking by moonlight, it took five months to reach safety in Austria. As one of my English students, he called me his second mama.
And I can do nothing today… but care for a stray dog.