Today, my heart is heavy.
When I was a child, I always thought life would be easier and better when I was older. Then, a little older I thought life would be better living abroad.
Neither of these is really true. They are stories I told myself to get through whatever I was going through at the moment. I’ve learned life is richer because of how varied and diverse it is – not because I am or am not in a specific place or time.
Life is good for me, my family, and a lot of other people right now. It could always be better, which is what I think most people strive for, but it could also be a lot worse.
I am thankful daily for what I have, am able to do, and the way I am able to live and work.
I cannot even think about any of this being taken away from me. I literally cannot fathom it. Yet, that is what so many people in Ukraine woke up to just a few days ago.
People have died, lost their homes, their livelihoods. People are having to take up civilian arms, making Molotov cocktails to have at the ready when Russian troops fully enter Kyiv and the ground war begins. Others are attempting to find shelter in the subway or in basements if they cannot flee.
For a power-hungry egoist seemingly seeking previous glory from a bygone era? Maybe Putin thinks life would be better, richer, more right by taking Ukraine – but this is not reality.
What is to stop this from happening again elsewhere. As an Ami living in Europe, I don’t have the luxury of saying the conflict is ‘over there’. It feels so close, physically, emotionally, mentally.
We think borders define us, they don’t – not wholly. We think our politics or politicians define us, they don’t. There is proof of this in the hundreds of Russians protesting their government. If you or I are truly multifaceted, so are ‘they’…as is every person on this planet.
These Ukrainians are my friends, neighbors, fellows in this life who were just going to work, having meals with their families and friends, hugging their children. Who’s to say they are not us. They are.
They deserve better than this.