Aya: One of Us

This is Aya. She was pulled from the rubble in Syria after hours of frantic digging by rescue workers. Sadly, her mother, father and four siblings were killed in the earthquake, but Aya was saved thanks to her mother. She was still attached by her umbilical cord.

Another woman, who had given birth herself just two months ago, stepped forward to breastfeed her. Two women, through the fragile veil between life and death, saved her.

Aya means miracle in Arabic.

I can’t stop thinking about this little soul who, out of such destruction and tragedy, has graced our world.

I’ve been dealing with my own shadows of late. The dark corners and passages that often confound me, sometimes leaving me feeling lost or broken. I’ve been looking in some wrong places for comfort, as well as some right ones.

It’s a fact of life that if we are breathing, we will encounter rough patches. People will disappoint you. You will disappoint people too. Health and finances may fail. Grief and loss will undoubtedly visit you. Injustice and cruelty may feel overwhelming. At times, the crushing weight of things may feel like more than you can bear. But then something truly miraculous will happen. You are witness to a wondrous thing like this. And you remember how fragile life is, and how miraculous too.

Aya isn’t an angel or saint. She is one of us. A fellow human being, with all the same flaws, failings, grace and beauty. And her survival amidst this terrible catastrophe is a reminder of that. The real miracle is when we recognize this.

Kenn Orphan, February 2023

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