There's a wonderful family who lives in our neighborhood. They may be, perhaps, the best neighbors I've ever had. We've spent much time the past few years hanging out with them, in particular their children. They're from Palestine and, likely, by the time some read this post, they will have returned. Mr. N and I have had more than one conversation with them about staying here in the States, naturally not wanting to see any of them harmed by the horrendous acts taking place against their people.
Quite often, while speaking with them, I find myself staring intently into their large brown eyes and asking myself how on earth could any person with any amount of compassion look at them and ever think they're not as worthy as the people of Israel? I ask myself how anyone could ever, for one moment, justify harming them? These beautiful people with such kind hearts. No different, at the core, than any of us.
Knowing them has not only enriched my heart, but my mind as well. Hearing first-hand from one who has lived the violence, lived with the rationing of food and water and virtually all other goods, lived with the military checkpoints, lived with having land taken has deeply moved me to care and know more about the history of these two nations. To know they don't have their own currency. To know it is not uncommon to stay close to home and to learn to dodge bullets. That one put me into one of those situations where I had to take a few moments to let it sink in. Imagine actually hearing gunfire and, at times, experiencing what it's like to have a bullet race by your head. It becomes a way of life. And I would be lying if I said I don't fear for their safety. I deeply fear for their safety. The thought of them returning, despite knowing their particular town is, for now, a safe area, is something that is weighing heavy on my heart.
While visiting with them today, I spoke a lot with the children. Having been here for the last three years, they have become very westernized. The girls spoke of their love of "Friends" (the television show). I've heard them say "oh my god!" and "no way!" when excited. The oldest son, who discovered last Fourth of July he loves pyrotechnics, is into some new game that we played today. Watching them, taking in all of that wonderful pure energy of childhood, in all of its refreshing splendor, I couldn't help but think to what they're returning to and wondering how long that innocence will last.
I'm not a mom, but I most definitely have that mama internal instinct. I want to tell them to be safe. I want to tell them to stay very close to home. I want to tell them how much I've grown to care about them and how scared I am for them. I want to hold them and weep and tell them I will be praying for them every day. I will be holding them close to my heart whenever I look at the Palestinian pin they gave me. I will remember all of the wonderful talks I have had with their oldest girl and the beautiful smile she always gave me, and how smart and aware she is for her age and how wonderfully kind. I will remember the sidewalk art the youngest girl and I did together and how she always taps me on the leg whenever she wants to talk. I will remember watching their oldest boy climb our apple tree (and all of the other trees in our neighborhood for that matter) and the look on his face when Mr. N showed him how to burn things with just the sun and a magnifying glass. I will remember trying Turkish coffee for the first time and being grateful I opted for juice after witnessing Mr. N, normally a daily coffee drinker, quite literally bounce off the walls after just two cups.
They're such angels. Such good people. So kind. Generous. From the start, opening up their home to us. I can't understand the consciousness of the person who could justify doing them harm. No religion or dogmatic set of beliefs is ever worth that. No political motive. No amount of money or power. There simply is no justification. They're just people who want to live their lives peacefully. That's what the majority of us want.
So then why oh why do the few continue to take away this right?
I could answer that, but then that would change the energy of this post and I don't want to do that. I want this post to be about this family and to express how much they have meant to me. Maybe I will make a copy of this and give it to them.
My only regret is that I didn't spend more time with them. Life continues to teach me such things. Let my heart fully take in each moment I have with people I care about. Absorb it all into every pore of my being and don't take any of it (or them) for granted.