As I crossed the threshold of my front door in Austin, TX to leave for my flight to the Middle East my four year old daughter clung to me. “I don’t want you to go…” she said. And I didn’t want to leave her. We’re a team, and I’ve not left her for any duration before this trip. The flights here were a dizzying bunch of connections and sardine can seating and as I sat squeezed between my seat-mates on a red-eye from Paris to Jordan, tears kept rolling down my face as I watched the plane’s trajectory over the wide ocean on my in-flight TV screen. The lines behind the plane growing and growing taking me farther and farther from my sweet girl, who I know is still at home aching for me.
I also left behind my husband, who has a broken leg, and my older seven year old daughter. How would they all manage without me? I posted a little image graphic to the COHI Facebook page that says, “Let Your Dreams Be Bigger Than Your Fears & Your Actions Louder Than Your Words.” This is my journey toward that ideal. It very much encapsulates who I am at this moment. Deciding to go on this trip was incremental. “Maybe…,” I’d say to myself. “Is this real…,” I’d think. When my plane ticket was purchased it finally struck me…I’m really going.
Last year at this time my life was completely different. I hadn’t dreamed this dream. Step by step I made it to this place, all along reveling at how transported and amazed by life this choice has been — to walk away from what I had been doing and follow a completely new path. It has powerfully grabbed my heart and pulled me forward. I appreciate every moment of it. I remember that I am more than just a my children’s mother and my husband’s wife. I am this person, too. I am. I am my choices.
Today the Delivering Peace Delegation to the Middle East begins. We are Lev, Simone, Meg, Nancy, Rasha and Michelle. I have a bag full of toys that I stuffed into my luggage and we will go to visit a little girl the same age as my little one, a four year old girl who is a refugee from Syria. We will also bring food to them, a group of family’s who fled from Syria, and we will sit with them and learn their stories and know their lives. I will have the honor of telling you their story, and from across a huge and unbelievable divide I will be the person who tells you about them and allows you to know more about our common world. I will show a single story that will cut across politics, will cut through the noise of information being blasted from the many media sources. This is simple. This is just you and me, me and a little girl from Syria.
I travel from my front door in Austin to a front door in a foreign land with a language I do not speak and in this moment I am bigger than my fears. My actions today will echo what is my heart.
COHI Communications Director