My Heart Cries Out

Blog, Peace Corps / Thursday, February 24th, 2022

My heart cries out for my people.

I saw the news as it happened last night. Russia launched an unprovoked attack on my beloved Ukraine. All the reports in recent weeks pointed towards this needless aggression, but the feeling of that happening hits different and all at once. Ukraine does not deserve this. Ukrainians deserve peace.

It was a sleepless night fearing for friends, colleagues, and students. I know the cities Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv. I have been there. Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro–none of the cities should be attacked. War is not the answer.

This morning I moved in a daze. I worked, but only to keep me occupied. I kept fearing I would read Konotop, my home, in the news. I know all too well that five minutes walk from 144 Uspensko Troitska, my apartment building, is a military airfield. I feared this made it a target. A twenty minute walk is the train station, the last stop before the Russian border on the Kyiv-Moscow line. I feared this made it a target. I fear.

The news kept coming in. Senseless violence. Missiles, 160 I’ve read, sent into my heart. My friends are scared. I’ve checked in with the ones I can, and I worry about all of those that I cannot. I see that Ukrainian lives have been taken. Are any of their faces ones that I know? Will any of them be? I pray they never are.

The internet is a blessing and a curse. I can hear, see, and feel all of the reports, but which of them to trust? I can contact people across the globe to make sure they are safe, but what about those who are not responding? I can send aid, but will it get where it needs to go?

Then I heard. Rose said she saw a tweet from the Kyiv Post that mentioned fighting in Konotop. Jeramie soon after shared a video a friend had sent her of a convoy driving through our home. Were we even twelve hours in before they made it to Konotop?

My heart cries out for my home.

My Ukrainians are kind, caring, funny, fierce and willing to defend what is theirs. Reports came from the military of successes. My heart leaps, hoping each report is true. The count of Russian planes shot down keeps me going, but is the number true? They are fighting and will continue to fight. I stand with them.

Ukraine has a long and rich history. The world needs to preserve it. No amount of lies, no amount of violence nor war nor hatred can remove that history from this Earth.

If I could lend a hand to fight, I would. If I could offer all Ukrainians shelter, I would. If I could end this needless suffering, I would. But today, I feel powerless.

What can I do?

For a long time, I have known that war is not the answer. Peace has always been the answer. Understanding is the answer. Working together is the answer. But war? Never.

Here we are. War was brought to Ukraine’s doorstep. They did not get to choose their neighbor but unfortunately have to deal with their shit. I stand with Ukraine. I will help Ukraine whenever I am able.

My heart cries out.

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