The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

So, this is Christmas

Or is it?

There are barely any gifts under our tree, I haven't baked a single cookie and the weather remains as warm as spring.  I procrastinated and procrastinated, because at the back of my mind, there's always enough time to get everything done. Then last week I fractured a toe so, even if I wanted to, I cannot do anything fast. Gifts I've ordered online are not showing up (is it just my impression that snail mail seems to get slower every year?), one set of lights on our Christmas tree stopped working after (of course, when else?) we had got all the decorations up and I just get this feeling of chaos surrounding me.

Christmas 001 (5)

But it doesn't have to feel like this. It shouldn't feel like this. Because Christmas is not about anything material. Or about lights and parties and food. Christmas is about an inner sense of peace, serenity and joy. The fact that it has become something of a nightmare is because we've got our priorities in a twist. Worse than that, we seem to be going through life with our eyes wide shut, mostly indifferent to the thousands of homeless and displaced people. And I know that sometimes we have to shut things out, for our own sanity and peace of mind. I do it nearly all the time. But maybe at this time of year we should just remember how lucky we are instead of stressing about the little things. How lucky that we have so much when so many thousands have so little. It may seem to be impossible that we can do anything about their plight. But, believe me, there are ways by which we can make a difference to others, without having to leave the comfort of our homes or go too much out of our way. Christmas Day 001 (46)

So today I want to introduce you to dear friends of ours, Ben and Eve. We first met  this lovely couple in 2012 during a baseball game (where else would you meet Americans in Malta?). They lived here with their three children and did missionary work amongst the  refugees that made it to our shores in rickety boats. They are probably one of the most giving couples we have ever met. The fact that our sons were very close in age just helped cement the friendship more quickly. in 2013, they went on to have a fourth child - Liliana Joy - who was born with a very rare genetic disorder. Undaunted, Ben and Eve continued their work while extending their friendship to as many people as they came in contact with. We had some fun times: roof-top barbecues, birthday parties (Eve always came up with the most original ideas), cozy talks around a crackling fire during cold winter evenings. We felt we had made friends for life.

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Then, in October 2015, Liliana died peacefully in her sleep. While we knew she was now in a much better place, we were devastated for her parents and her siblings. Within three weeks, the family made the decision to move back to the US. We were sad to see them go but life is what it is. Change is constant. We keep in touch as best we can via Facebook and e-mail. Which is how we know that Ben and Eve are still extending their big heart out to those that are hurting, to those that need all the love they can get. Their own grief and loss just seemed to make them more in-tune with those who were hurting more or were more vulnerable than them. Last summer, Ben and a friend recorded video footage of a people group living in Northern Iraq called the Yazidis. The Yazidis have been persecuted since the 18th and 19th centuries and, more recently, by Al-Qaida and ISIS. In October 2016, Ben and Eve founded the Peace Lily Foundation, a non-profit organization which aims to raise awareness of, and support for, those in need of a restoration of hope, peace, prosperity and innocence. And they have a dream. Their dream is to buy weather-proof tents for 47 Yazidi families who have nothing in this world, let alone presents under a Christmas tree or cookies baking in the oven. So, if any one of you can help, I ask you to donate to this worthy cause. You don't even have to leave your home. Each tent costs $300 but any amount will do. You may donate here. To learn more about the Peace  Lily Foundation go here or to the official  Facebook page here.

Individually, we are one drop. Together we are an ocean. Ryunosuke Satoro

Peace Lily Foundation

 

Just for the record, Ben and Eve did not ask me to write this or to share their dream. They do not even know that I did. I just felt compelled to do it. And if any of you want to share this post or spread the word about the Peace Lily Foundation, please feel free to do so.

Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Yerushalmi Talmud 4:9, Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 37a.

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8 comments:

  1. what a beautiful story. thank you for that. :)
    x

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  2. Awesome post, Loree! Thank you for sharing Ben and Eve's story.

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  3. SORRY about the TOE!HOW on earth did YOU do THAT?
    Obviously, these are GOOD PEOPLE.SO SORRY for their LOSS.......I cannot even imagine!
    How GOOD of YOU to spread the NEWS............
    MERRY CHRISTMAS...............tell that AMERICAN of YOURS to fix the LIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!XX

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  4. I am so sorry to hear of your friends' tragic loss….and of the uplifting project they have started - Goddess bless.

    Sending the warmest of holiday wishes to you and yours, dear Loree ❤️
    (and I hope that poor toe heals soon!)

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  5. What a touching article Lorna. I am guilty of ALL the Christmas "anxieties" and admit all self imposed. I have known about the Yahzidis' flight through church and different articles. I think of my grand children and know they are loved and sheltered in many ways. So I will donate to this worthy cause and hope many others will too. After all, the Christmas message is all about giving and hope. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I am very sorry to read of your friend's loss..but what a beautiful post. I love the Christmas pictures. Spring-like weather really is not conducive to Christmasy feelings, is it??

    I hope you have a Merry Christmas :)

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  7. Yes Loree this is Christmas! Sweet friend I think you discovered what is important in your wonderful friendship with Ben and Eve. God has a way of using the humblest folks to spread love and shine light into the darkest corner. Isn't it precious when He chooses us!! Hope your toe heals quickly and you have a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with love. Hugs!

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