All through the month of February, our church served as a collection spot for donations for Syrian refugees. People were invited to bring in clothing, blankets, toys, and other goods for those who had fled violence and oppression at home to save themselves and their loved ones.
When we agreed to be a collection spot, I had no idea what a powerful experience it would be. On many occasions, I was in the office when the doorbell rang and was the one to open it to find someone with arms — or a minivan — full of donations. Sometimes they had come from Target, where they purchased socks and children’s coats. Sometimes they had raided their linen closet at home. Sometimes (as in the photo above) they had spent countless hours knitting scarves or blankets as a spiritual practice, praying or meditating on the depth of suffering being experienced by those to whom these goods would go.
So many people expressed thankfulness for the collection. It gave them something to do with their heartache, their sense of overwhelm, their desire to connect with the suffering of those they could not see, had never met, but carried in their hearts. All of them were very much aware that their offering was a “drop in the bucket” of a ginormous, complex problem. But the vision of some real, particular person using the real, particular item they had selected or made was like balm to their souls.
Thank you to Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice, and the Environment for organizing the collection and inviting us to serve as a collection site. Thank you to those who filled our stage with beautiful offerings. Pray that our children don’t have to organize such efforts.