Last night my daughter was ready for bed and as we approached her room for our nightly prayers and tucking in, I decided to surprise her with, "Want to lay in mommy's bed?" My husband was working in the garage and I was spent after a normal mom day plus heat, plus the weight of current events. "YES! Let me get baby Minnie!" So we crawled onto my bed, cuddled up face to face and smiled. That mother-daughter, giddy, girly smile of pure love, joy and affection. "I love you mom ... I love being with you." Holding back tears, I couldn't help but think of being forcibly separated from her.
I often ask God why. Not the usual kind of why did this (insert mildly terrible event) happen to me. But why am I so privileged? Why did I get to be born on American soil? To enjoy freedom and comforts most will never know. To be a Christian without having to hide for fear of my life. Why me? There are quite literally billions of people living in poverty, hunger, violence and fear. More than 70 percent of the world’s adults own under $10,000 in wealth. In countries we are seeing a rise in immigration from such as Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the gross national income, per capita is less than $6,000 according to the CIA World Factbook. But far worse than finances, is the constant fear of death from criminals and gangs, malnutrition, disease and natural disasters.
I'm sure I join millions of other aching mama hearts this week over the issue plaguing our borders. Children being separated from their parents. Children who were fortunate enough to make it through that long, treacherous journey, reached the finish line, only to be taken from the only form of security they knew, their parent. I'm not referring to the large number that came without parents, although that is another topic I'm researching and feeling empathy toward. Many of those children are orphans because of the conditions in their country of origin. Parents taken by disease, natural disaster or at worst, murdered right in front of their children, those children literally fleeing for their lives.
I realize this is a little late in the game as an executive order was signed to stop family separation. However this came only after one of the largest public outcries in our country as of late and the urging by the president's wife, daughter and numerous others from his own party that could not stand by idly. Thank you. Immigration reform is needed. But as has been said countless times over the last few days, children should never be used as pawns. Not in divorce proceedings, not in partisan war. Not ever.
For some reason though, the issue is still HEAVY on my heart and mind. Once again, I find myself questioning the opinions of family, friends and strangers alike, and feeling utterly alone somewhere in the middle. I keep standing around staring and thinking. Then inevitably go back to browse social media and see a post, scroll through comments, and become completely shocked at the daggers thrown from behind the comfort of a screen - on both sides of this ugly fight. The people who are calling for love, peace and equality using the deep pierce of words to tear the first lady to shreds and bash anyone connected to the president. Maybe forgetting that these too, are people. People affected by the world they were born into.
Then there's the so-called Christians justifying separation because this is not a new problem, and that's just what happens when anyone breaks the law. Yes, I'm sure when a family fleeing a war torn country gives the last of their savings to the man promising to take them to the land of opportunity, they defiantly ask to be taken to the wrong port. This is not everyday American lawbreaking people. They were not watching the news from their leather sectional, checking the GPS on their iPhone10s, debating what tourist spots to hit up first upon arrival. Are we that disconnected? Desensitized? How do we not understand and have compassion for he conditions these people are fleeing from? So lost in our own wealth and privilege that all we can think to say is, 'do it right' ... but consider for a second the decision, life? Or death? Most of us will never have to make that decision.
The Statue of Liberty, world-renowned symbol of freedom and inclusiveness, proclaims it like this: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Isn't this why we are all here? We are most definitely a nation of immigrants. And at one time or another many of our ancestors were on the not so friendly receiving end of arriving in America - German, Chinese, Italian, Irish ... isn't it time to handle things differently?
Jesus himself was an immigrant attempting to escape violence. As a baby he had to flee with his parents when Herod sought to have him murdered. Jesus went on to teach others about love and compassion for all. He was a friend of the poor and the criminals. He advocated helping and giving at all costs and turning the other cheek as opposed to violence. "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you," Matthew 5:44 KJV.
What I've gathered from all this the last few days (other than wanting to move so far off the grid I don't have internet access), is that people need to be more kind, people need more love. People need more Jesus. His example is unmatched. His life unparalleled. If all Christians truly acted more Christ-like, we might not be in the situation we are today. But then, what would it all be for. "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own," Matthew 6:33-34 NIV.