Recently we saw "To the Arctic" at the IMAX. It was Judah's first movie theater experience and while he was a little disoriented by the surround sound, he seemed as enthralled with the massive glaciers and arctic wildlife as we were.
The film highlighted the melting of the arctic ice pack due to global
warming, and the challenges wildlife face as a result. It particularly focused
on polar bear mamas and their cubs. The melting of the ice packs makes it
difficult to hunt for food and evade predators. One mama bear had to set off on
an eight-day swim to find food and lost her cub in the process. Another mama of
twin cubs was constantly hunting to feed them, always on the alert for danger,
and even had a run-in with a hungry male polar bear after her cubs.
While listening to Meryl Streep narrate the difficulties mama bears and
their cubs face, I thought, the plight of mother and child in a cruel
environment is a moving one. If you want to call people to action, you show
them a film about a polar bear mama tirelessly looking for food and protecting
her cubs at risk of her life. People send money for that kind of thing, they
take trips to see for themselves. Surely, we cannot let mother and child
And, then in my mind, the harsh arctic transformed into a city, the glaciers
became city buildings and the polar bears became urban-poor mamas and their
children. You don't have to go to the arctic to see mamas live heroic efforts
for survival. For many women, every day in the city is a fight to survive. Life, for them, is kind of like floating on an
ice pack with your children, with no one but predators around and no resources
in sight. You become resourceful, cunning, and tough as nails, or you and your
children don't survive. You haven't heard a roar until you see an urban mama
protecting her own.
I am in awe of so many urban mamas, who don't know if they will be able to
put food on the table for their kids, or protect their children from imminent
danger, or ever find a man who won't use and abuse them. And, yet, they still
get up every morning and fight. They are
at once so strong and so broken, something that makes them awe-inspiringly
beautiful to me. Sometimes I feel like I
can’t make it through the day, and I have a fridge full of food and a great
support network. I don’t know how they
The end of the IMAX film called people to action. Send money…vote for politicians who care
about the environment…live green. Work
in the city is harder and messier than that.
Sometimes things seem hopeless, but God is able to bring hope to the
hopeless. The city needs our resources,
our efforts, and most of all, our prayer.
If people can take up the cause of a polar bear, surely we can fight for
urban mamas and their kids. Any little thing
can be life-changing, when you are desperate to survive.