Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What do a conservative pastor, the Khmer Rouge, and I have in common?

Absolutely nothing, except that last Thursday night we were all in a room together. 
The result?  Not good.

A little history:  I bought tickets for a fundraising dinner that one of my ex-students was putting on for her senior show (in college) (yes, I realize this shows my age).  It was a beautiful dinner and art auction that she had put so much work into.  It also raised money for a WONDERFUL cause - Rapha House - a rehabilitation house for victims of sex trafficking.  I was so proud of my old student and what she was doing.  She had done such a beautiful job.  And nothing I'm about to say effects how I felt about the night as a whole...how I felt about this fantastic event.

But that wasn't it.
It was the speaker.
I have a beef to pick with him.  Actually I have MANY beefs to pick with him after that night, but I want to limit it to just one that has stuck with me for many days now.
The man brought up the Khmer Rouge. 
Don't get me wrong....I think that human awareness of this horrific event is SO IMPORTANT.  I think that humans should be educated on historical injustices and acts of terrible genocide and that we shouldn't act blind to it.  I would venture to say that half of you don't even know what the Khmer Rouge is, because I didn't know about it until recently.  I think we SHOULD know and I think we SHOULD remember.  However, last Thursday night was hard for me to swallow. 
First of all, he said he was telling us about, and showing us these horrific images because he wanted us to see how people in that country value human life.  Well, I hate to tell you mister, but you could really show images like that about nearly every country - including ours.
Now let me put my soapbox away for a moment so that I can tell you more about what went down.

At first I gave the man the benefit of the doubt and tried really hard to follow him.  He was so hard to follow.  My tender little heart and pacifistic soul hiccuped in pain as he talked about not only the victims of sex trafficking, but also of this mass genocide that took place the decade before I was born. 

Then he dropped a bomb on me. 
Do you remember me mister?  I had the cute little peep toe shoes with my conservative black pant and sweater combo?  The mom at the second table that already had tears running down her face? 

This is how it went:
Man: Okay, now I want to warn you that these images are not cool. (Those were seriously his words.)  Like, if you have a weak stomach, you may want to look away.
Me: Silently push away my dessert with a mental commitment to not look.
Man: Here is a slide that shows an entire wall consisting of the people killed during the Khmer Rouge.  The killers took a photo of each person before they killed them as documentation.
Me: **hiccup**
Man: Here on this other wall (next slide) are pictures of all of the children they killed.
Me: **silently** WHHHAAAATTTTT  THE (*&$#(*&@?!?!?! (don't look, don't look, don't look.)
Man: Here we took a close up of one of the children....a little boy about 1.
Me: (I catch a glimpse) my throat tightens, and I clench my jaw - I can tell I'm reaching the point of no return.
Man:  Here is another picture that really got to me.  Here you can see a mother.
Me:  nooooooooo.
Man: And you can tell it is a mother because of the tiny little baby she is holding (fake cough).
Me: Sheer and utter horror.  Like serious soul-crushing sadness beyond anything I could handle in public.

What did I do?  I got up and left as discretely as I could (here I should point out again that I was positioned in the front and center of the crowd.)  With tears streaming down my face and me biting the inside of my cheek, I speed-walking to the closest bathroom.  I sat down in one of the stalls and WAILED.  Not just tiny little hiccups, but Large, Heeving, Sobs.  People came and went, but I sat in there an sobbed shamelessly...with nothing but my cute little peep toes visible to the outside world. 

I sobbed for that mother.
I sobbed because I have no guaranteed way of protecting my own children.
I sobbed because one of them looked a little like Miles.
I sobbed because I feel undeservingly lucky.
I sobbed because I was mad at that man for deciding he needed to use scare tactics to promote an organization that I already had so much compassion for.
I sobbed for his pregnant wife that had yet to realize how much she was going to love her little one, and how impossible it would make it for her to look at those images.
I sobbed because sometimes I'm a big baby that can't handle the truth.


Cori said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Things have changes so much in my heart since becoming a mother, too.

Elizabeth Frick said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think the thing you said that hit me the most was "I was mad at that man for deciding he needed to use scare tactics to promote an organization that I already had so much compassion for."
Because, really, what was he hoping to accomplish with those photos?
My stomach turned, just reading about the things you saw.