There is a powerful video by Save the Children circling social media networks this week. The video shows a year in the life of a young British girl. The goal is to bring awareness to the plight of children in Syria, by urging Westerners to imagine their child forced into the trauma that children face in countries torn apart by conflict.
As I watched the video, tears came to my eyes. Tears for children in Syria, and in every other country at war today. But the tears were for my friends too. The truth is that many of my friends grew up in a conflict zone right here in El Salvador.
During the 80s while I was attending parties, and going to school, and riding my bike safely around my neighborhood, many of my friends in El Salvador were growing up like the girl in this video.
When I talk to Salvadorans from my generation they tell me stories of helicopters flying down their streets, soldiers firing outside of their school, men invading their home to tie up their father and steal their car, relatives being kidnapped, and the deaths of their own fathers, brothers, and friends.
The war ended in 1992 leaving behind a wake of traumatized children. Because war brings trauma. No child should grow up fearing a bomb, or seeing dead bodies on the side of the road, or hearing news of a friend cut down. War is an awful, awful thing that hurts children, steals their innocence, and leaves them forever scarred.
My heart breaks for all the Salvadoran children of war who live with this legacy. I cannot even begin to understand or wrap my mind around that dark road that was walked here during the war, and I don’t claim to.
All I can do is admire my friends for their courage, and love El Salvador more for the pain that has been endured, and the lives that continue to press forward.
Our call is to simply try to do what we can to bring life, to share God’s grace, and to speak His love. We are committed to doing our best to continue this journey with a country that still suffers, and to walk with the children of war who still need to find healing.