I've had my heart broken a few times before- once by a boy who didn't feel the same way, and once by a boy who changed his mind. Each time I remember crying uncontrollably, feeling as if I literally might die. I remember that horrible feeling of complete and utter helplessness. Thoughts like "This is not the way it's supposed to be" and "I will do anything to fix this" replayed over and over in my mind like a broken record I couldn't stop from spinning.
Ask any girl who's gone through a break up. It's one of the worse kinds of pain there is.
Yesterday my heart broke for the first time in a while. But unlike before, it wasn't over a boy. It wasn't over someone I loved. It wasn't even over someone I'd met.
Even so, however, my heart still broke- in a very real literally-felt-like-I-might-die kind of way.
When I came into work I was given a handwritten letter from Isaac, a man I'd never met. Isaac lives in Saclepea, a city in northern Liberia where thousands of refugees from the Ivory Coast have fled. He wrote to see if there was anything L.A.C.E.S. could do for the thousands of children displaced by the conlfict in Côte d'Ivoire. In the first paragraph, he wrote, "We are overwhelmed with the sadness on the faces of our children."
Sitting at my desk, tears fell uncontrollably.
In a refugee situation such as this, it is impossible to predict the future. With no idea what Saclepea will look like in 6 months, one year, or even two years down the road, there is no way L.A.C.E.S. can afford to invest in a program there. It just wouldn't be sustainable, or a responsible use of our very limited resources.
Holding Isaac's letter in my hand, I realized this. I realized that L.A.C.E.S. couldn't help in the way that the children of Saclepea needed. I've been very much aware about the refugee situation for weeks, but unlike ever before, I felt like I was being called to help, and that there was nothing I could do.
Feeling completely and utterly helpless, thoughts like "This is not the way it's supposed to be" and "I will do anything to fix this" ran through my head. I cried and cried just imagining the sadness that Isaac sees on the their faces, and what their lives must be like. The conflict in the Ivory Coast is ripping families their homes, from everything familiar, leaving them unsure of where they will be sleeping tonight or if they will be eating tomorrow.
I've had my heart broken a few times before- and this time wasn't any easier. Ask any girl who's gone through a break up. It's one of the worse kinds of pain there is.