Sewing It Shut

His sunken eyes hold a desperate resolve.

There is no turning back because turning back would mean certain death. And yet, there is no moving forward. The Iranian refugee is stuck like so many others with nowhere to go.

I can't help but stare at his picture on my laptop. It's another sad image in another news story highlighting the fallout of war in the Middle East.

I feel for this un-named man. I feel for the fathers and mothers I see clinging to their children on inflatable rafts.

As governments and world leaders debate their future, the Iranian man protests with the only thing left he still has control over - his very life. Along with a handful of others in his situation, he launches a hunger strike and literally sews his mouth shut to underscore just how dire the situation has become for him and so many others in his situation.

It's difficult to imagine what it would take for a person to draw a threaded needle through his upper and lower lips and bind his mouth shut.

I am struck that, not only is he unable to eat, he cannot speak. Nothing goes in. Nothing comes out.

He will suffer the pains of hunger in silence. He will suffer the pains of displacement by war in silence.

His actions scream that there is nothing more to say.

Halfway around the world, we have plenty to say about refugees. We fill pages and pages of social media espousing our thoughts and opinions.

Perhaps we have too much to say.

Admittedly, it is a complicated situation. On the one hand, none of us wants to recklessly expose our nation to violence at the hands of terrorists who might take advantage of our compassion toward refugees. On the other, there is the reality of the millions of men, women and children who now suffer and desperately need our help.

The time has come for us to do less talking -- especially by way of angry, insensitive posts on social media. The world needs to arrive at some real solutions. The good news is that there are so many countries at work on this. If we pool our resources and cooperate with one another, who knows what good could come of it?

Meanwhile, there is still another avenue of action for people of faith: Prayer.

Let's pray God will open our minds to solutions and our hearts to those in need. Let's pray for peace and healing. Let's pray God will give us the courage to act, and the wisdom to know when to speak and when to sew our mouths shut.

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