Asar* is a seventeen-year-old man-child who is wiggling his way into our lives. I call him a man-child because circumstances have made him much older than he really is, and yet there is still this young boy heart inside of him that longs for more innocent happy care-free days. His story is full of tragedy and protection. Blessings and disappointments.
Five years ago, Asar had to flee Syria with his family. He shares at our dinner table about almost dying twice prior to their escape. He describes the nerve-racking bus ride that carried them to the boarder and about the elderly lady whom the check point guards threw away all her medicine, to simply be mean or show their power. Miraculously, a man was at the border who Asar’s father had worked for many years ago. He helped process their documents and into Lebanon they came.
Their journey here has been far from easy. At first, he and his two older brothers and parents lived in a tiny one room place. Their home in Syria had been a beautiful villa. Now they live in a more comfortable apartment. We hope to visit there one day soon.
Asar for the last five years was one of the fortunate Syrian children that was taken into a school for Syrian refugees run by our church. It is an inspiring project as teachers from all over the world come and instruct children in an apartment building that has been converted into a school. All these children now know English and there is a long waiting list. Asar can no longer attend there, as he is too old. He had a full scholarship to attend a boarding school in America, but rejectingly the US embassy stamped “denied” the day he went for his visa.
While, this slammed door has got to feel so frustrating, the door to our home is open. Asar is walking into our lives for such a time as this. Next week he wants to teach me some recipes. Last week he taught us how to un shell sunflower seeds quickly and obtain the seed, with quick little biting motions. The boys enjoy hanging out with him and vice versa. They have come from such different worlds, and yet here they are. Together. A Syrian refugee teenager and my third culture teenage boys.
We don’t know where this chapter will lead. I just suspect that Asar will teach us more about life than we will teach him. However, we are hoping that we will teach him something that he will remember the rest of his life. I already know that I will never forget Asar, and the blending of our stories has only just begun.
Asar* is a pseudonym.