We love doing Nothing. A day where we have no appointments, no meetings and no places where our children have to be. An evening where we can stay at home, curl up as a family with a bowl of popcorn and watch a movie. An afternoon where we can take a walk or play in the yard. Nothing. Nothing so that we can do what we find pleasurable. Reading a book, building a puzzle, playing a game. Nothing has warm connotations, happy thoughts. Nothing is what we live for as a family.
For us, in America, Nothing means Everything.
For the Lost Boys and Girls, Nothing means NOTHING.
This is what NOTHING looks like for the Lost Boys at Aaron's former institute. This was Aaron's Nothing. A shed with Nothing in it but carpets and benches. Nothing.
On warm days, 20 plus boys will be led to this shed. 20 plus boys will go inside this shed. A bench will be placed across the door so that they will not be allowed to leave. Then, those 20 plus boys will do nothing. They will sit inside that shed. They will sit. They will rock. They will cry out. They will moan. They will stare at the walls. They will hit each other. They will hit themselves. They will sit. They will sit. They will wait. After hours of sitting they will get to leave for another shed, to eat. They will be forced to eat quickly so that they can be led back to this shed. To do Nothing. In the afternoon they will be led to their rooms. They will be made to lay down on their beds. For hours they will lay on those beds. Some will sleep to escape. Others will lay and do Nothing. Staring at the walls, ceiling - staring at Nothing. When it is time to get up, they will go back to their shed. Again, to do Nothing.
On rainy days, or cold days, they will stay in their buildings. They will not leave those buildings. They will not venture downstairs or get to visit the other boys in the other buildings or even in the other part of their building. No. They will stay in their section. They will sit in the sitting room. It is as empty as the shed. Benches and carpets. They will sit. They will sit and they will do Nothing. They will rock. They will moan. They will hit each other. They will hit themselves. They will sit. They will wait. They will stare at the four walls. They will do Nothing.
Once in a while, on weekends, they will get to hear music. The bigger boys will get to do jobs. Some jobs that are heart-breaking. The best behaved boys will get to kick a deflated ball sometimes. Sometimes a stick can be found for drawing in the dirt. Sometimes they will even let a child or two play in the sand pile that is often used as a toilet. Sometimes. On really rare days, when visitors come, they may even get out a hidden toy or two. Rarely. Most of the time, they do Nothing.
Nothing for the Lost Boys and Girls in Eastern Europe means Nothing.
Two worlds. Our Nothing. Their Nothing. Can we just sit by and do Nothing?