What can I do for Ukraine?

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Surely, most of us has asked this question in the last few weeks and will be asking it for months to come. Here are some of my observations and, hopefully, helpful thoughts on the situation.

It has been just over two weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine. A few days ago, it was ‘only’ a week. In a few days it will be three weeks. Then a month. When you read this post, it might be longer than that.

How long it will last? What’s next? Everyone is asking these questions and we don’t know the answers. When Covid pandemic hit, we also didn’t know what we were going to face for two years. And for how long we would bear the consequences of the pandemic.  We still don’t quite realise the latter.

We cannot ever guess how long this kind of circumstances are going to last. That’s why I think, even if it sounds like a cliché, we need to take the situation one day at a time. That strategy worked for me in multiple lockdowns, and I believe that regardless of where we are in the world, this is the most sensible response. It also applies to other things that we might be facing on a personal level at any other time. Help one day at a time. Pray one day at a time. Think one day at a time. Don’t carry more than today is giving you and don’t plan too much in advance.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34 NIV

Regardless of how long this conflict has been going on, a lot has been already said and done; but every day is an opportunity to do just a bit more and better, and say more supportive words. What you do and what is your ’more’ will depend on your circumstances. But the ability to do more and to do better today than we did yesterday is a great motivation and, in some circumstances, can help us to stay alive.

Near and far

Everyone around the world has been amazing in helping but looking at my Facebook feed – full of my Polish friends’ post – I cannot stop thinking that the closer you are the more you feel this war. When you are close to a situation like this, you invest yourself in it, you want to do something real. You want to be there for people.

When we are further away from any war, it is easier to remove ourselves and carry on with our life. It is absolutely normal and we’ve seen it with other wars.  

This has been the same for people who have lived close to other wars of our times – Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia. War becomes important when they hit close to home, either emotionally or geographically.

If it’s close to us, it matters.

Even for me – married to an Ethiopian husband, the war in Ethiopia feels further away, than the one in Ukraine. It is not a thing I am proud of but more of a human nature. However, God challenges us on this things – human life is human life, and just because a war is further away or doesn’t affect us, it doesn’t mean that people are not suffering because of it.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15 NIV

What can I do for Ukraine, even if I am not near geographically? Be empathetic – try to picture yourself in the shoes of Ukrainians. Think that these are your brothers and sisters, friends. It makes you more attuned to their needs and will help you make better decisions for them; not just helping to make yourself feel good.

crop psychologist supporting patient during counseling indoors
Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

We didn’t expect this

Since this conflict has begun, so many of us said – I didn’t expect I would live to see this moment in my life. The truth is however that sadly, we’ve seen this already. Ukrainians have been living with this reality since 2014. Ethiopians. Syrians. Iraqis – we have seen horrific wars in our times but too often we chose to forget about them. It’s so far away that it simply disappears from our radar.

Another thing that I see in this conflict is the statement that we could’ve stopped Putin several years ago. Yes, we could’ve probably also stopped Grenfell Tower fire, not see so many black boys killed, stop systemic racism etc. we could’ve done all of these things, but we chose not to. Not because we supported any of them but because we didn’t oppose what caused them strongly enough. We didn’t oppose complacency; we didn’t oppose people treating someone else’s life as less important; we didn’t write to our politicians. We’re running through life so fast that we didn’t even have the time to think what we oppose or what we stand for.

It is scary to watch the war unfold in Ukraine. It is terrifying but it is real. A lot has been already said and done but I’m adding my two penny in, jut in case it encourages you and me – random normal people in ‘the West’ to do something.

Today is our chance to actually stand for something and stand up against evil. And today we can do a little bit better than tomorrow and simply do one thing instead of doing nothing.

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