I found the photo for this painting reading about the gains young women have made over the past 20 years in Afghanistan, and how the Christian church there is the second fastest rising in the world. My heart aches for them watching as both of these groups and the gains they have made have suddenly become prey to the evils of mankind's basest motives .
America was their hope, their protection, their support moving from violent tribalism to freedom. And aside from the complicated reality, the politics involved in the past 20 years and the plans to facilitate the Afghans standing on their own, we have let them down in their moment of need, being hunted down after having only barely tasted the beauty of freedom. And what about our own loved ones and friends, who have bravely stood, died, fought, and sacrificed for the freedom of those in Afghanistan
America is only as good as it's people, and we have been - less than..
Infighting, massive corruption, hatred, greed, selfishness, and short sightedness to name a few. I am ashamed, for the first time in my life, of my country. Not ashamed of our flag, but ashamed of how we are representing it- because we have forgotten the reason it has been a beacon of light for the world for almost 250 years. The concept of freedom and hope that thousands have shed blood for.
We are not doing it justice.
How can the United States of America open the floodgates to wolves who devour and ravage the seedlings of freedom just beginning to grow roots? If we stand by and watch, I wonder how our legs will not crumple beneath us before the world. The past week has truly felt crippling.
This Sunday morning as I pray for the people of Afghanistan, I am also praying for restoration and resilience for our own country. For strength and intelligent discourse, for leadership, and most of all, for love and optimism to come and live through us.
The United States is an experiment - with no guarantees- only the scaffolding built for a society and people capable of reaching not only freedom, but the individual and collective dreams freedom provides, not known before in the history of the world. But freedom has never been free and we each have to work to climb, build and defend it because we have a responsibility to something bigger. To be more courageous, compassionate, and more active in making our country all that it can be. Those things we hold most valuable -- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are at stake not only in our own country , but in the eyes of oppressed souls around the world.
We have a responsibility to that elusive, vulnerable seed that America grew out of and still seeks to embody fully.