The big life can’t be just about me. As my heart grows larger, my compassion for people has to increase. To miss that salient point is to miss the whole idea of what true large living is about. I mention this because a video crossed my computer screen yesterday on social media that has given me serious pause. It is the video of a five year old Syrian boy named Omran Daqneesh.
The video begins with a man finding Omran and carrying him from the rubble of an unidentified bombed out building to an ambulance. He is dazed and flat eyed. The haunting video then shows little Omran run his hand across his face that is covered in blood. He looks at the blood and then wipes his hand on the seat in the ambulance. Throughout the video he does not cry or make a sound. He is totally silent. The five year old is in shock. It is one of the most gripping videos I have ever seen.
I have eight grandchildren. They are all within a couple of years of Omran’s age. They have been frightened about a few things in their lives like a shot at the doctor’s office or jumping into their dad’s arms for the first time in a swimming pool. But for the most part, their lives are easy. I am so grateful that is their story. They have not known bombs and war, but five year old Omran has.
Helping children like Omran is a pretty huge assignment. And truthfully I don’t know how or where to begin. But my lack of knowledge cannot lead to me ignoring the little boy in the back of the ambulance. While I am trying to see how I can help I want to commit to a few things I can begin to do now. I can make sure I really see the five year old in the video. I want to really think about and try to feel his pain. I also want my grandkids to see him, not to make them depressed or afraid, but to make them aware. I want them to know this is the condition of millions of people who live on this planet. And then I want to teach them it is our privilege and duty to get to do everything in our power to make sure fewer children have to be exposed to this kind of horror. I want to teach them that this is why we don’t believe war is good and we don’t believe bombs ever solve problems.
Is trying to feel some of Omran’s pain easy? Of course not. But a big life person has to think about ways to help people like this little Syrian boy. To not think about it or care is to live the smallest life possible. The 20th century intellectual Aldous Huxley said, “Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.” If you just looked at Omran’s experience that could be true. But it doesn’t have to be. This life can be a beautiful thing. We just need more big lives working to make it better for everyone.