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How to Keep Your Heart Open

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

I've been thinking about my kid's response to current day events, which is the same to all news that disrupts their peace or feeling of safety. Typically, when they hear of a robbery, shooting, Amber alert, and yes, now news of Russia invading the innocent land and people of the Ukraine, their inevitable reply is to ask, "How far away is that, Mom?" Fair question. My answer will, undoubtedly, increase feelings of security or turn the dial way up on anxiety, worry, and panic.

And yet, I have been thinking of a post I saw several years ago which detailed a conversation

between Jesus and a soul who had just gone to meet Him. The dialogue focused on that person's use of social media and their habit of scrolling past the pain and pleas for prayer.

The point of the post was to drive home how accustomed we, as a people, have become to seeing other's needs with an increasing immunity to empathy.

I've come to realize my response to my children impacts their perceived boundaries of suffering. And I have recognized my own dismal borders that have built over the years. The further away disaster strikes, the "safer" I am.

But am I? Are we? Does distance lessen the need for compassionate response and action?

My memory is jumping to a few days ago when my son, a senior in high school, described how they are literally watching a war unfold in real time on Tik Tok. This war may be the scariest for our population to live through, due to unprecedented social media coverage being posted as it happens. My mind now leaps to my daughter sharing about horrific footage sent to her phone, minutes after it occurred. Most likely, these images are being shown to jar the rest of the world into a rescue mission. Understandably so, (*warning: graphic image explained), for when a video of a young girl, riding a bike, is hit by an explosion which blows her legs off is posted, the image of her dragging her mangled body must evoke tears and uttered prayers if we are to remain human at our core.

Perhaps distance provides blessed insulation from reality and yet, is that best? If it were closer to home, would we want others to scroll by our abject terror and obliterated safety? Would we pray for a rescue that may never come?

Perhaps, no matter the distance, the best way forward is to:

Pray as if the woman ducking her head while running to find cover is your Mama.

Weep as if the little girl dragging her bloodied body to non-existent safety is your


Beg God and country for mercy as if it were your son in middle school covering his clothes in a camouflaged "soldier" outfit with fear in his eyes and no training to rely on.

Act with certain swiftness to ask for prayers as if it is your Dad's life on the line.

Intercede as if your sister's innocence and safety depending on it.

Hold him in your mind and heart as if it were your husband pulling you close for one

more kiss before squaring his shoulders to leave for the front line armed with a gun.

Gather clothing and supplies to offer as though it were your Grandparents that are left with no option but to leave everything they have ever known.

Donate to fund the emotional repair of those children shell-shocked by the surreal devastation of their school and murder of classmates as if it were your niece or nephew.

Prepare your heart and home for those who are left with broken lives and no place to go

as if were your actual neighbors needing refuge...

Remember, these "foreigners" are not foreign at all...they are our Mamas, Daughters,

Sons, Dads, Husbands, Grandmas, Grandpas, Nieces, Nephews, and Neighbors...

For the world is smaller than we think and our FAMILY is larger than we realize.

Practical ways to offer support to those suffering in this war:

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