Saturday, February 23, 2019

Our Allotment of Days

Life is so short…Life is so short…
There isn’t enough time to love. 
I don’t know where people find time to hate.

Sheikh Hamza offering a sermon at the funeral for the seven Barho children 
killed in a house fire earlier this week.

This was how his sermon ended.  A sermon at a funeral for the seven children who ranged in age from 4 months to 15 years. Children of a Syrian refugee family who had arrived here in the Halifax area of Nova Scotia, Canada, in September of 2017.  

Nearly 2000 people attended their funeral this afternoon.  And they attended it in peace and solidarity, with respect and dignity.  

I was not able to be there in person; however, CBC did a live stream at the request of the Muslim community so that the maximum number of people could be present in support of the mother.  The father is in hospital still with significant burns received while trying to rescue his family.

I heard these lines of Sheikh Hamza…within this context…looking at seven children-sized caskets and thousands of mourners… 

And I thought about the world…about the bombs that regularly devastate whole families…about government policies that deny families what they need for survival; about walls of division and rejection; abut the kids who live their differences in shame and fear because of bullying; about the adults who live with abuse; And more and more and more…

Grief runs long and deep in this world.  It feels, reads, sounds like, a life-state of epidemic proportion.  

Life is so short…

Ahmad, 14; Rola, 12; Mohamad, 9; Ola, 8; Hala, 3; Rana, 2 and Abdullah, who was born in Canada on Nov. 9.

There is not time enough to love sufficiently in the midst of such grief as our world knows.  Where do we find time to hate?

There is not enough time…to be compassionate, to be merciful, to be present, to be just, to be kind, to love….  To let through the best of our humanity…inspired and informed by divinity, principles, values in favour of a life of meaning, dignity, love…for all.

And yet it seems like entirely too often…we use up our allotment of days, moments, for less than that.

Today, well more than two thousand people showed up in one way or another to stand with a grieving mother.  Tomorrow, the day after, and those after that, here and somewhere else, there will be innumerable calls to do likewise.  To stand with each other and bear witness, to offer strength, to do what can to manifest a love that leaves no one aside or alone.

Life is too short to be about lesser endeavours.

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