I took a two week semi-haitus from Facebook. I logged in to check on stuff and like a few statuses but otherwise I kept it out of sight because my newsfeed was killing my soul a little bit. Not that there aren't many wonderful people posting positive or hopeful stuff, just that they were outnumbered by fear, hate, and misinformation.
So instead I turned it off and used the time to dive into two things I am passionate about: my photos, and my faith.
I haven't been to Syria but I have been to Egypt and Jordan (and Morocco, which is not middle eastern but is deeply muslim). I took time to reflect on these trips, the people I met, the deeply human connections I made, the overwhelming sense of welcome I experienced. And i dove into my faith - not the christianity of Fox News or Donald Trump but the one that's of Christ. The one that begs for reconciliation, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, unconditional love and unexplainable hope, radical grace and even more radical inclusion that knows no bounds and is not constrained by politics, by borders, or by fear. I don't recognize the christianity portrayed on TV, and it shakes me, so I have to return to my own roots in a quiet space. In this space, there is no fear, there is no us and them, and we're all refugees fleeing some kind of brokenness, though for my syrian brothers and sisters that brokenness is more real than I'll ever have to know or face.
Both these things brought me fresh air this week. Sometimes it's good to turn off the facebook, turn off the news, turn off the noise and indulge or dig into something that brings you fresh air.
This particular young man I met on a side street near the Cairo Necropolis, the City of the Dead, where miles of tombs line the streets. I don't know what about me he found so hilarious but I took it as a complement. He tried to give me one of his rings, gold with a red stone, but I implored him that I was already married and my husband would be jealous. I know the focus isn't perfect but the moment is, his expression is, and that makes it a pretty perfect picture to me. It reminds me that he was laughing so hard he couldn't even keep still, belly laughs like a little child :)
So now on my website there is an Egypt gallery. I'll be adding more to my Jordan one soon, and Morocco to follow. And a Canadian one too, which I've never had, as I am proud of our new PM for standing by his promise to bring 25,000 refugees to Canada. I hope I can find out where to stand and cheer when they begin to arrive.