Monday, October 15, 2012

Struggling to Survive

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 suffer!

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 do it.

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.

1 comment: