“That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.”
-Rose Tico, The Last Jedi
Today, I want to unplug.
Stop scrolling facebook, stop reading article after article, full of the stories of real people – mothers and fathers – who are crying out for their children, and no one is listening and all they are offering as consolation is a piece of paper with a phone number on it. Something to fold and unfold over and over as they anxiously wait to get off a flight sending them thousands of miles away from their children.
Two stories today, which possibly you have already read, have set the heaviness back in my bones. I don’t know if it is possible to read these and not be moved.
The story from the second image, of the 2 year old, crying while her mother is patted down…I can’t even begin. They were on dangerous roads for a month, exhausted, finally made it to the border and turned themselves in – literally, sat there waiting to be picked up by border police – hoping for help. The mother was breastfeeding her daughter moments before this picture was taken.
They take away their shoes. They load them up in a van and take them away.
We don’t find out the outcome, but it is very likely they will be separated and the momentary pain this girl is experiencing from not having her mama when she is just a foot away may be a very real ongoing suffering inflicted on her for hours or days or weeks or months. What happens when one so young is taken from her mama? My heart is aching and heavy.
That baby is not much older than my own. I cannot imagine being forcibly separated for even a day from my him. I cannot imagine what trauma he would have to recover from after being held in one of these detention centers.
It feels too much and I think what is the point in sharing anymore, in adding to the noise.
Isn’t it just self-care to take a break from the media?
Or is it just an act of privilege?
Because if feeling sad and heavy every day until this stops means I won’t grow numb to what is going on, that I feel the smallest ounce of empathy and love and can share in their suffering in some minuscule way, it is worth it.
If it means I will remember that these children are OUR children and we have a responsibility to take care of them, however helpless I personally feel, it is worth it.
Periodically, my husband likes to ask me how I am doing with God. Are we on speaking terms? Do I feel close? Do I feel a void? Right now, there is a fire in my gut that I can only believe is put there by God. And if there is anything I believe is true, it is this: All people matter. PERIOD. And the world is messy and broken and full of heartache and I will never even see or understand it all. But once I SEE it, I can’t unsee it.
There was a Jew who came thousands of years ago and taught this radical idea of giving up your reputation and your own comfort to be a part of a new Kingdom. And he said this Kingdom was GOOD NEWS for the poor and the oppressed and the hurting and the unloved. That it would be harder for the rich and righteous to enter into it, because we have to give up something for it.
Right now, we are seeing this truth. America, one of the richest nations in the world, is somehow defending its self-righteousness while inflicting horrific acts on people who have nothing – no home, no resources, no safety, no allies, and now, their own family being taken away. We might claim to be “christian”, but we are not following any of the words of this Rabbi we say thanks to for “washing our hearts from sin”.
Instead, we are so worried about losing our comfort and some sort of false assurance of safety and taking care of our own first that we convince ourself there is either nothing we can do or we are doing nothing wrong.
what is going on at the border is not good news.
Forgetting the humanity of those from another country and simply referring to them as “illegal” or “legal” is not good news.
Taking children from their families who just want to be safe and together is not good news.
And just because there are others suffering and are stuck in impossible situations does not make them or this issue more or less wrong or unimportant.
So, whatever you believe about God or Jesus or America or Humanity, I hope you are asking yourself some big questions right now.
Like, what are we willing to lose?
And who do we love?
And do we realize how much we have?
And what are we going to work to save?
I want to unplug from all this news that is getting sadder by the minute. But instead, I’m going to focus on saving what I love. And my love can’t stop at my own home or blood or skin color or border.
Whatever you can do, wherever you are, do it.
Call. Write. Share. Give. Remember every time you hug your child or tuck them safely into bed at night what a gift you have, something you take for granted, that is being withheld from someone who loves their own child just as much, who has made incredible risks out of that love.