It was the kind of day when the gray seeps into your soul

A Boy and a Bandage

Last Friday I had one of those experiences that put a face on the current conflict in Ukraine.

Our SUN team traveled to a refugee center outside of Kyiv run by a courageous, young Orthodox priest—Father Nicolay. It was a cold, gray day, the first real day of fall in Ukraine, a day that reminds you that the damp cold will soon give way to the bone-chilling cold of winter. It was the kind of day when the gray seeps into your soul.

Father Nicolay took us through what had been a rehabilitation center for drug addicts and alcoholics, a facility that comfortably housed 35 men and women but now provided a home to more than 150 men, women and children.

We walked into a room filled with squealing, laughing children. Oddly, most of them were playing under the tables, pretending that they were being bombed— imitating their real-life experiences in eastern Ukraine.

Being an over-grown child myself, I waded into the group and joined the game.

After a few minutes, one little boy, maybe five or six years old came to me and inspected my right arm. He began to pat it and shook his head. He told me I was going to be alright and not to cry.

He then took a roll of surgical gauze out of his pocket and wrapped it around my wrist, tying it off as best as a five-year old can. He looked up and smiled.

I thanked him and started to take off the bandage, but he patted my arm again and told me I had to wear it until it was better.

I fought back the tears.

Here was a little boy who should be playing with trucks and instead he was playing a game that he had learned when his housed was bombed.

And I realized why Save Ukraine Now is important.

We are not trying to save a geo-political unit; we are saving the future of children like that little boy and the other boys and girls who are in that shelter and in scores of other shelters across Ukraine.

I have been carrying that gauze with me every day since that visit and I will carry it to remind me that the face of war is the face of a little boy in a refugee center.