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Archive for September, 2015

Last night, I tucked my little blond boy into bed
When he woke up in the night, I laid beside him to nurse him
I kissed his soft cheeks and breathed deep his baby scent, still lingering
I gave him his blanket and his snuggle whale
And I left him safe and sleeping again

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Oh, Rehan, you could not tuck your boys into bed last night
You dressed them instead for an escape attempt
Desperate to keep them safe, desperate to get away
You carefully tied on Aylan’s little brown shoes
You slipped his red shirt over his head
The one that would make him easy to spot
In case you were separated, even for a moment
I can see you so clearly as you walked onto the boat
You holding Aylan’s right hand, Abdullah his left
Galip held close to your other side
All of you praying for safe passage, huddled close together
Praying for a miracle that did not come

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They found you all this morning, Rehan
Lifeless on the beach in Bodrum
As I took Benny out for donuts
Oblivious to your story
Tired from caring for my own babies
In my safe, warm, suburban home
Far from the violence and horrors you fled

The whole world saw Aylan’s picture
His tiny body shaped so like my Benny’s
Curled with his bottom a little in the air
The way little boys sometimes sleep
When they were babies only yesterday
His red shirt hiked up a little, showing his little boy belly
His little fingers so still, his little eyes shut tight, pressed in the sand

The way I left Benny sleeping last night safe
While you fled for your lives
Aylan’s shoes, the ones you tied so carefully
Were still on his tiny feet
He really could have been sleeping
Except that his dark head was not safe on a pillow
But on sand in the quiet waves lapping the beach
Where he washed up after your boat capsized

My heart breaks for his loss
For the loss of his brother
For the your loss,
For Abdullah’s heartbreak as he reclaims your bodies
My pain at the sight of your little boy
Curled up like he might be sleeping
Is nothing compared to the terror you must have felt
As you led your boys onto the boat
As you realized it was going down
As the water swept them away from you
As you took your last breath
And we are to blame
We who know what is happening
We who stand by
And we must find a better way
We must find a path to action
So there are no more little boys washing up on beaches

But today, I will cry the tears you cannot
Today, I will hold my little boy the way you held Galip
I will kiss his head like you kissed Aylan’s
Today, I mourn your boys and you and all the others
Today, I lament
Today, I grieve
You, who were lost at sea
You, whose little boys washed up on the shore
Today, I can only weep for you
And for your little boys, so like mine

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One on What Love Is

They asked him to prioritize:
Which was the greatest commandment
And I doubt he even hesitated
Before he threw the gauntlet twice:
Love the Lord your God
With everything in you, he said
And the second beat the same drum
Love your neighbor as yourself
And so when he restored his dear friend
The one who denied him three times
He asked him the same question, over and over
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
And each time his friend answered yes
He repeated this charge
Feed my sheep
Feed my lambs
Feed my sheep
Greater love, he told them another time
Has no man than this
That he lays down his life for his friends
And then he gave the greatest love
Pouring out his life for his friends
And so the Way should be clear
Love first,
Love above all else
That instruction to Peter
Turns the second commandment into the first
The way to love God
Is to love others as ourselves
To feed them
To sacrifice for them,
To lay our lives down
To choose the hard path
To choose the path of sacrifice
To give the benefit of the doubt
The same way we give it to ourselves
To give grace first
To forgive before the apology
To always always turn toward mercy
Even when we want to put other things first
Truth first
Or Justice
Or Being Right
Even when we think we know a better way
Even when this way seems impossibly hard
Insurmountably steep
Even when it seems we will lose ourselves in the giving
The way is still Love
The path is still clear:
Love like he did
Because he first loved us
The greatest commandment is Love
And the second is like it
Love your neighbor
As yourself
Feed my sheep
Greater love has no man than this

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