Welcome to the somewhat unbalanced mind of Orbson Rice.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Girl with the Beautiful Eyes

The little girl with the beautiful eyes. There is sorrow in that blue that few of us have ever known, this little girl with the beautiful eyes. Against the wall she leans, her gaze far off and the little colorful helicopter on her sweater covered in days’ worth of filth. The little girl with the beautiful eyes has seen too much. I wonder what her joyful days were like, this little girl with the beautiful eyes. I wonder whether there were birthdays with balloons and presents reflected in those beautiful eyes. I wonder if she watched as the bombs stole her parents away from her. Did she see it happen through the tears of those beautiful eyes? Did she see the other children, tens of thousands like her whose lives would be so different if they didn’t call Syria home? She will never be the same, this girl with the beautiful eyes. She’ll be broken even if she is able to find sanctuary, the memories haunting behind those beautiful eyes. Will she be able to find someone to help her, the girl with the beautiful eyes? Someone to love her and care for her and show those beautiful eyes a better world? A world where dreams can come true. A world with a home and people to love her and her beautiful eyes. I don’t know if she made it out, the girl with the beautiful eyes. 10,000 sets of beautiful young Syrian eyes are missing. I almost hope they are closed forever, for there are some things that beautiful eyes should never see. 50,000 sets of beautiful young eyes will never see light again. I do not know if hers are still open, the girl with the beautiful eyes. Did she find a place to rest her heart? Was she turned away, the girl with the beautiful eyes? I think I will call her Amena, the girl with the beautiful eyes. If she is forgotten, if she is lost, she at least deserves a name. She deserves to be remembered, the girl with the beautiful eyes.


We have been asked to build a wall around us both literally and figuratively. We have been asked to turn away from the innocent. To allow them to suffer and even die because they are not convenient to us, because they may make our lives a little more difficult. I reject this. I reject this with every ounce of morality in my soul. We are facing great difficulties in our nation: poverty, homelessness, environmental destruction, rampant political and corporate corruption, demagogue leaders who seek to divide us. But, regardless of our political views, we have to agree on this one thing. We must treat our fellow human beings with compassion and love. We live in a country that was built on letting people in. Our country’s greatest symbol screams out to the world,

“Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

If you cannot look into the eyes of a child like Amena with compassion and empathy then you can no longer call yourself pro-life. If you support sending unaccompanied children back to countries where they will be forced into gangs, raped and murdered then you cannot call yourself a Christian. If you are not willing to open our nation’s golden doors for the innocent men and women who are only seeking a better life, then your morality has been corrupted. I am agnostic but believe that wherever the truth in life rests, it must be for those who are willing to reach out a hand to their fellow human beings. Though perhaps my words will fall on filtered ears, where truth is alternative and compassion is mocked. Then find guidance in another. Listen to Pope Francis as he says, “We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories….”

I will remember Amena. I will hope that those beautiful eyes are gazing out at something wonderful. Something healing. I will remember that there are other Amenas throughout the world. In Syria, and Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Africa and Alabama. I will think of all of the world’s little boys and girls, men and women who only need a chance to survive, to thrive. Let’s put aside our differences and come together to say that we will not turn away from them, not choose the easy, selfish path. We will welcome them, and look them in their beautiful eyes and let them share their stories with us. Then, in whatever way this world takes us back into it, we will know that for generations of beautiful eyes we made a difference.

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