I know what I should be doing… but I won’t

I know what I should be doing. 

I should be organizing supplies. Soap, diapers, shampoo and tampons to send to the moms and kids in the detention centers at the borders. I should be canvassing my neighborhood asking for donations of coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals, blankets and clothes. 

But I won’t. Because there is a birthday party to plan and the weather doesn’t look great. So I’ll rearrange the pizza delivery and re-confirm RSVPs for the rain date. And those goody bags won’t fill themselves. And the giant unicorn needs to be inflated.

I know what I should be doing. 

I should be organizing a caravan of mothers who will walk across the country in solidarity with the mothers who have fled their homes in the dark of night when their children were threatened, their family members murdered, their daughters raped. 

But I won’t. Because it hurts my hips when I walk too far. And don’t I owe it to my children not to be broken for them? Plus, who would figure out what to make for dinner if I was pushing an empty stroller down the highway?

I know what I should be doing. 

I should be writing and calling my representatives on repeat to make sure they’ve heard my message. That I don’t like an America where people are held in cages. 

But I won’t. Because I get tongue-tied on the phone and it takes me days to work up the courage to make a haircut appointment. And then I replay the tape of my awkwardness on a loop in my brain. So I will find a thousand excuses for why my reps don’t really need to hear from plain old me. 

I know what I should be saying. 

I should be talking about the conditions in which these human beings are living with every single person I meet. I should be committed to keeping us all uncomfortable with the discomfort and despair of our fellow human beings.

But I won’t. Because it’s not polite to talk about politics and somehow children without clothes, food or toothbrushes have become political. Plus, no one likes a troublemaker. Because I’m afraid that by revealing my true beliefs, I will expose my family to the disdain of neighbors, friends and family who believe the exact opposite. Because I can’t be sure that even my husband wants to hear what I have to say. 

I know what I should be posting.

I should be posting articles and photos and facts about the children, especially the children, who are being held in cages. 

Because every time I post something serious on social media, I get fewer likes and comments. And the comments I do get are mild rebukes and reminders that really, most people prefer when I fakebook photos of my dog. 

I know what I should be saying.

I should be calling them concentration camps. 

But I won’t. Because when I do, I inevitably hear that “Obama started it” or “They deserve it for coming here illegally” and when people I know and love say things that make me understand the incurious nature of their minds or the blackness in their hearts, it breaks mine. 

I know what I should be doing.

I should be finding a way to be there, right now, serving. I should be wiping tears, cuddling traumatized babies, comforting distraught mothers. I should be, as Jesus asked me to be, “building the kingdom of God on earth”.

But I won’t. Because I have to pick up from camp. And find a new faucet for the kitchen sink. And swim team practice starts in an hour. 

I know that, because I am sitting in a climate-controlled house with a full stomach and three children who are safe, healthy and educated, I will temporarily forget about those mothers, children and babies who are being held in cages and freezing cold rooms. Who are sleeping on concrete floors. Who are sick and tired and afraid and desperate.

I will remember again soon, after I tuck my own baby into her cozy bed in her tidy room. And I will know what I should be doing. But. There’s always a but. 

I know what I will have to do someday.

I will have to apologize to my children for my inaction and inattention. I will say, “I didn’t know, we didn’t know.” But that’s not exactly true. It’s not that I didn’t know. It’s just that there were so many things I had to do, I didn’t do what I knew I should be doing.