Tuesday, February 26, 2008

return of the night commuter

I'm thankful I didn't learn about this until the good news came in, and I'm sorry that I didn't learn about this beforehand, also.

Thousands and thousands of children in Uganda were leaving their beds at night to walk and walk and hide for fear of being abducted and forced to join a rebel army where they would be made to beat and kill civilians and abduct other children whom they would then have to beat or trample to death if they tried to escape. 30,000 children have been abducted since 1986.

40,000 empty beds any given night. 40,000 frightened, exhausted little wanderers.

Since 1986! For more than twenty years! How many nights is that? I was graduating from high school when it began. Barely more than a child myself.

How do you wrap your mind around these things?

I just learned about this tonight. I think of Finn sprawled on our bed with his beautiful toddler mouth hanging open, and then I picture him a few years older - or first I picture night, the absence of him, the bed and the sheets calling for him. Then I backtrack and see him at dusk, resigned, or not resigned, and getting ready to set out. What he'd be wearing for warmth. And then I make myself try and see him out on a road in the dark, away from me. I can't make myself see much. A bit of his imagined leg. The curve of his head next to the curve of some little unknown compatriot's head. I can't make myself look into his imagined heart out there, I can't make myself guess his feelings.

A permanent ceasefire has been called in Northern Uganda.

I don't know how to resolve all of the feelings I have. This is a sudden burst of grief and joy all at once. I wish I were there to get all of their beds ready.

1 comment:

Deb Abramson said...

There is so much heartbreak in this big ugly world. Welcome home, little ones.