I’ve been fascinated with the journey of the “Humans of New York” photographer. From Europe to Africa to Asia…..the stories of the people he comes across in his journey have made me laugh, cry, and fall to my knees in thanksgiving. Sometimes I forget how good I have it. Brandon’s photos and stories often remind me. And, as painful as it can be, I am thankful for that.
Saturday he shared a picture of a man from Saigon, Vietnam who described what it was like to be on the ground when the American planes were bombing them. He finished with: “When they dropped their bombs, I don’t think those pilots knew what it was like on the ground.” (Click here to see the photo and story from Humans of New York.)
The grace given in those last words blew me away. I don’t know that I’ve ever extended grace that looked anything like that. That’s powerful and challenging and I just don’t think I have what it takes to forgive like that.
And that makes me sad.
Below the photo on the Facebook post were the comments that people had made about this mans’ story. The ones most liked by others were at the top. And that’s where I read the other words, the ones that have stayed with me today.
It’s an African proverb:
This has moved me to tears more than once today. Our world, our country, our community, our families are in turmoil. And who is paying for it? Those who don’t have a dog in this hunt, a bone to pick in this fight. The innocents. The ones who don’t get a say in how this all plays out. The ones who have often have no idea why the fighting is going on at all. As if those of us in it do…..
Tonight I am thankful for the peacemakers in this world, for the ones who stand up to speak for those in need. I am thankful for those who use their words to put down on paper stories that teach us it’s in our hands to make a difference for the ones who have no voice. And I am thankful for Brandon, whose brave journey and stories from around the world have yet again touched my heart and challenged my soul with the task of growing and doing better.
My parents used to say, “If you know better, do better, and folks’ll like you better. ”
Love to all.