Tuesday, May 29, 2018

There is no such thing as other people's children.


The most 2018 thing about 2018 is the constant daily, never ending, and always changing cycle of outrage. There is something inevitably new and fresh every day that enrages one group of people which provokes the other to rush to the defense of the first group and around and around we go. On the whole, 2018 is, if nothing else, quite mentally exhausting.

But yesterday's dailyoutrage (or at least one of the things we were all supposed to be either outraged about or defend) was an Instagram post by Ivanka Trump lovingly embracing her son. 

"Tone deaf!" shouted one side, as we read story after story of mothers and their babies being torn apart at the border. "Oversensitive!" shouted the other. It is a mother and her child. Why can't we all appreciate that?

I sat staring at that photo of Ivanka for a while, and of the one before it on her Instagram page, where a young Theodore sits politely with a napkin on his lap at the world's most beautifully set table while he dines at the White House with his mother. My mind and heart, honestly edging ever more closely to the comfortably numb stage of being unable to summon sufficient outrage over stuff like this anymore, instead wandered to an article I'd read several years back in The Atlantic.

The article was about how people who do well tend to fundamentally understate the role that luck had to play in their success. It wasn't to say that those people weren't hardworking or talented, but that they almost always downplayed the extent to which there was a substantial element of chance involved in their relative success, and that by doing so they were less likely to consider those who were less fortunate then themselves. 

The author writes, "That we tend to overestimate our own responsibility for our successes is not to say that we shouldn’t take pride in them...And yet failing to consider the role of chance has a dark side, too, making fortunate people less likely to pass on their good fortune."

I started back at the Instagram post. Does she ever reflect on any of it? Whether I like Ivanka Trump or not I can't diminish I'm sure there are things she's both worked hard for and talented at, in the pursuit of building her brand. But does she ever just sit and reflect on the inherent bump she started from, being born into a family of enormous wealth and privilege, and relative safety. That when it came to being safe, and fed, and cared for, that never once did she doubt she was, or that she could give the same to her own child.

All of this turns in my mind as I read the stories of the children that have been separated from their parents at the border. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a big fan of Glennon Melton over at Momastery. She's got lots of wisdom to share on being someone's mother and daughter and wife and sister. On just generally being human. But one of my most favorite Glennon quotes is, "there is no such thing as other people's children."

Think about it. Just close your eyes and imagine giving up everything you had to seek a better life for your family, to seek asylum as a refugee, that bump that Ivanka or frankly all of us got, that roll of the dice where we got to start out from a place of safety. Where we got to offer that to our children. Imagine living in a world where the only thing you could guarantee for your children is that you love them more than any earthly thing, more than love itself, that you would do anything for them, and then having them ripped out of your arms in a country where you know no one, understand nothing, and have no legal capacity to advocate for them, yourself, or what comes next.

When I think about these mothers and their babies, I honestly can't sleep at night. I'm not kidding. I haven't slept in three nights. 

Every mother knows this in her bones. Frankly every parent does. That if you see a child in need, if they are about to run into the street, if they are hurt on the playground, if someone’s child is suffering it rarely matters who they belong to. Because, as Glennon is as always quick to remind us too, we belong to each other.

Today, Glennon and her folks over at Together Rising are sponsoring a Love Flash Mob. That is where she tries to raise a lot of money quickly, 100% of which goes to something productive and charitable, like finding legal advocates for these children sitting in a detention center in Arizona, separated from their families. I'm going to give and I hope you’ll consider doing so too.

And even if you don't, say a prayer tonight. Say a prayer for your children, or someone's else's children. Remind yourself that your babies are safely tucked in their beds tonight and taste the deep well of gratitude as you reflect on that. What divides us is not our race or our religion, or what we have or don't, or where we started. What divides us is who remembers and who does not, that more than not it is luck that dictates that is someone's else children behind bars right now, not ours. And that also, there is no such thing as some else's children.

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Here is more information about what is happening at the border.

And here.

And here is a link to join Glennon’s love flash mob and help children right now.