I’m leaning forward, my finger poised over the dial. On the radio, a man is talking about his brother.
“He was home for his 18-day leave. It was Thanksgiving, so we celebrated Christmas – ”
He falters, and I can hear the tears in his voice as surely as I can feel them running down my own cheeks. That was his brother’s last “Christmas”.
I feel a responsibility to bear witness to the suffering of a fellow human being, even when the topic is a war that I don’t understand well enough to justify an opinion, and especially when this lack of understanding also represents a failure.
But where is the time to understand? And how can I bear witness without being dragged down? And what purpose would my anonymous, impotent listening serve?
A man loses a brother. A bullied teen gives up. A child is stolen.
And my finger hovers until, with the click of a button, I bury my head in the sand.