Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Thing You Grab as You Flee for Your Life

An interesting question: If you had to flee for your life, only taking what you could carry, knowing you might never come home again, what's the one precious thing you would be sure you had as you went out the door? I'm not sure I have a definite answer myself.

But many Iraqi Christians have had to answer that question for real in a hurry, and not hypothetically at leisure. Photographer Matt Cardy at a refugee camp for Iraqi Christians who have had to flee home has a short series of portraits of refugees with that one thing they had to grab as they fled. The portrait of Rafo Polis is the best one, but they are all poignant.


  1. Itinérante1:09 AM

    Wow! And it goes so well after the "Opportunity" poem!

  2. Enbrethiliel2:50 AM


    That was so moving!

    If I literally had to bring only one thing, it would be the first class relic of St. Therese of Lisieux, which is still the most amazing gift I have ever received.

    But if I had an hour to pack, I'd bring other devotional items, like my rosary, my box of prayer cards and booklets, and my statue of the Holy Family (which has already been abroad with me). If I had room for only one book, I don't know whether I'd grab an old favourite with great sentimental value or a really thick one that I haven't read yet. Speaking of sentimental value, there's the stuffed horse that I sleep with: I couldn't leave him behind; he'd feel so abandoned and betrayed! Finally, since I am a knitter, I'd take my 4.5 mm circular needles with the 80 mm cord (because it's the most versatile in my collection) and the biggest ball of yarn that I've got. And now I'm missing the point of the question, aye? =P

  3. Enbrethiliel2:50 AM


    So true!

  4. branemrys10:46 AM

    Well, I think it does show that human investment in the material world around us is diversified -- we could ask the same question about every aspect of our lives, not just our lives as a whole.

  5. Brendan Hodge11:57 AM

    Pragmatically, I'd probably grab the backup hard drive for our computer, since that has our family pictures, writing, etc. on it. It sits on the desk in the library, and the packet that has all our family documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, insurance, etc.) is right nearby. I figure that's my stop if we're ever rushing out of the house in a fire or something.

    After all the people, obviously.

  6. branemrys5:15 PM

    You're definitely better prepared than I am. I think one boon of modern technology is the ability to condense things into portable form; it's a very different world from having to carry everything in some physical copy.

  7. Enbrethiliel4:08 AM


    My family and I are planning to move to a new place soon, and despite my love of paper books, I find myself wishing that my huge library were 100% digital. =P

  8. branemrys3:13 PM

    Yes, books are wonderful many ways, but portability has never been their strongest feature.

  9. branemrys3:15 PM

    A long time since I've read that one.

    When a woman thinks that her house is on fire, her instinct is at once to rush to the thing which she values most. It is a perfectly overpowering impulse, and I have more than once taken advantage of it. In the case of the Darlington substitution scandal it was of use to me, and also in the Arnsworth Castle business. A married woman grabs at her baby; an unmarried one reaches for her jewel-box. Now it was clear to me that our lady of to-day had nothing in the house more precious to her than what we are in quest of. She would rush to secure it.


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