My Heart Hurt

by Erin Morrell, reprinted with permission

When I asked my Syrian colleague today how she was doing in the aftermath of the Paris attacks she looked at me and said, I am sad because now everyone looks at my country like it is a horrible place. We are not bad people, we are good people, and there are those posing to be from Syria who are causing these problems and people think my country is a bad country. Her pastor suggested that people in her congregation who felt like they could answer peoples questions should do so but if it would invoke anger within themselves they should remain calm and remain quiet until their angered passed. This made my heart hurt.
I served on the Syrian border in Jordan for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. Many of the people who I lived with had their families split between the border when the Middle East was demarcated into different countries, so I have always felt a kin-ness with the Syrians I have met to my families in Jordan. While I was there these people cared for me. They invited me into their homes. They shared their stories and their secrets. They taught me that there is a way to be with people who are so different from you in so many ways - that love can transcend language and culture, history and politics.