We did. Watch American Idol Gives Back last night, that is. We watched it last year as well, but since we TiVo'd it, we skipped through any of the images that might have been disturbing for our then home 4 months, Hannah, who had just gone through a year of grief and loss that might disturb even the most stoic of adults.
Last night, though, we watched together. And when the segments appeared of the orphan children in Africa, we held our collective breath and let it play. And together we sat, huddled around one another in our cozy, American family room and watched as the drama of the HIV-AIDS crisis played out in the lives of too many African children (and parents!) on our television.
When it became overwhelming, we drew closer to one another. A little one crept onto Mommy's lap, while Daddy's arm enveloped an emotional pre-teen. It was a moment of shared sadness. And this year we didn't look away because although the pain is still there, something wonderful, something magical, something miraculous has happened in the last almost 18 months. The pain has been lessened because the pain has been shared. Not a one of us looks at the orphan crisis in Africa any more and thinks, "Boy, that is just really sad." We look at it and know that it will take more than our sadness to fix the problem. And the very little bit we've done? It barely scratches the surface. For each orphan child who finds a home--a forever family--hundreds of thousands more like him (or her) wait with no one to help ease the burden of their pain.
The face of the fifteen year old left by his dead mother to raise his three younger siblings is no longer a mirage. He is the flesh and blood eight year old who sits at our table, who took her mother's job when she was too sick to do it herself.
The mother who visits the grave sites of her three children --ALL dead from AIDS--we can't separate from the family in Ethiopia who bestowed their blessing on our family as we promised to raise the children of their second daughter whose life was cut too short.
So, did you watch? We did. But this year as we watched, we really understood and we are poised to do something--to give back. For if we watched, thinking we understood, and didn't make any plans to change our actions, then we really didn't understand at all.