Real compassion

Last week there was a war in the Gaza/Southern Israel region.  I am sure you probably heard about it.  Where I work, the emails and updates were flying day and night.  Interested parties of all persuasions were worried about the children on either side of the border.  Children should never ever become victims of their parents wars...but they do.  I am on the emails lists of many who take interest in that part of the world.  I got updates from far removed acquaintances with the details of how their families were getting along, what their thoughts were about the rockets and the iron dome defenses.  I was forwarded email conversations between concerned American friends and their far removed Israeli relatives, "We are worried about you!", they said, "How are the children?"  I have sent many many many similar emails to my friends and colleagues in Israel through the years - to let them know I am thinking about them, to assure myself that they are alright.  In an unstable region, the threat of terror and war are constant.  The drama is never ending.

So, I really don't know how to say exactly what it is I want to, I am just going to say it.  When I read SO many emails SO full of worry about the children of Sderot, Israel, I wondered why those same concerned people sending emails had been so seemingly unconcerned about the death of my child.  I'd rather not compare the situations too much - I know that rockets falling on a town and threatening the lives of innocent children is completely terrorizing, in fact, I know that children (and adults) on both sides of that border are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome just from having to be on high alert all of the time.  But, a child DID die!  A child that those email senders are not at all far removed from.  MY child died - right here, right down the street from my house.  And, his parents (Ted and I) are still suffering every single day and I haven't really heard much of anything from any of those email writers since it happened 16 months ago.

I am not really sure what it is that I draw from that.  It just feels like a complete disconnect.  I mean, are you worried about children or not?  Are you worried about parents who lose their children...or not?  How authentic is your worry for those children in the Middle East?  Or, is it that their safety is just another way to say "We are right!  They are wrong!" - and I am not pointing fingers at either side - because I think both sides do it.  "Our children are in danger!" - both sides say.  Look, I am not an idiot.  I know that a war is frightening and that the stakes go far outside of the immediate threat to any one child....and what happened to Maxie happened in a peaceful middle class American neighborhood.  But, how then is the compassion so different?  I have seen certain people work themselves into a frenzy about protecting the lives of innocent children who they don't know in Israel while asking me, in the same breath, if I am over the death of my child yet.  Someone even came to Maxie's shiva and told Ted, "Children die in Israel every day" which I am sure Ted mostly felt like responding with a swift kick to the guy's nuts.  I guess I just question the authenticity of all of this concern.  I mean, either you care about children or you don't.  Either you are compassionate to those experiencing loss or you aren't.  I am taking it all with a grain of salt.  If you care about children - then go ahead and care....make a difference why don't you.  But, if you don't care, it is written all over your well crafted email - you aren't fooling me one bit.

1 comment

Jenny Romanowski said...

Abby I do believe that a certain percentage of these people really do care and want to help in any way they can. What I hate to believe is that most of these inquiries are made to fill some type of empty feeling the person is carrying. To satisfy themselves..or to show they are good worthy people to show their interest in others. Again something you can do with out. You know who cares and who doesn't. That is that. Sadly and unfortunately that is all some people can offer. You have to take it for what it is. I know easy said! You are so much more than them and you would expect them to respond as you would but they could never walk in your shoes...they're way tooo big for them!! Look to the few people out there that will amaze you! Be stronge be safe!!