Healing of the Soul

My mother always says: “Aren’t you psychologists responsible for restoring our tired souls? Very well, then, I will make your job easier for you and guide to the keys that will open our chest of problems so that they can all be released. Give us what we want; get me my daughter and her children from Syria, for this is the only effective solution for our fragile souls. Otherwise, don’t try, for anything else you do will be for nothing.”

I held my head sown and smiled; hiding behind it how much her words affected me. I don’t have an answer to my mother’s request that may seem simple to many.

My sister has been stuck at the border for over two months now. We try and quench our longing for her by hearing her voice over the weak mobile phone networks, when they are kind enough to connect us. On the other hand, I find myself smiling with defiance; for how can this woman in her fifties- my beautiful mother- summarize the science of psychology in a request like that?

The days passed, and one day at the clinic I met a new patient. Perhaps fate led him to me to prove that the woman in her fifties whose words I mocked is actually wiser than me in my own field. Raed, a man in his early thirties, the war in Syria affected him like it did many men of my country. It claimed his right eye, and left him with severe injuries all over his body. However, all that doesn’t compare to the bigger tragedy in this man’s life, as seen by any father who sees the beauty of the world through his children. His four children are still in Syria, they might still be alive but they have nothing more than the roof of an old house to shelter them; protecting them from the bombs and rockets that are fired daily. They don’t differentiate between humans and rocks, fighters and children…how much can this roof protect these children!

Raed lives only with his mother in housing designated for people injured in the war. He keeps himself busy and patient as long he doesn’t think about his biggest problem. However, his tears fall easily at the slightest mention of the words “Syria”, “Der’aa”, “bombing”, or “killing”. He turns on the television hoping to hear some good news but only sees hundreds of children being killed silently and without any mercy in Syria. For a second, he thinks that they are his children, and so he cries and cries and almost dies of defeat.

While his mother is busy, Raed grabs a plastic hair comb and brushes it on his stomach. I ask him, “why?” He answers me saying, “I tried to open my stomach so that I can hide my children inside, and protect them from dying.” Even if that was possible, how are you or your children going to find a way to meet? Oh how you suffer, Raed. Even I have felt that kind of suffering, albeit on a smaller scale. I think about what you are going through and words flash around in my mind: human, rights, humanitarian, conscience, neighbors, peace, world, mercy, united, love…But I can’t put them in a sentence that will benefit humanity, and I struggle to find any links between them and our reality.

-Iman D.

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