Tuesday, December 6
I stopped into a local artist’s gallery to say hi and the first thing she blurted out was, “Pati, you have to call Fr. Sean!” “Ok!” Who is Fr. Sean?” She continued to tell me that he had been the guest speaker at the local bi-monthly forum, speaking about the Kino Border Initiative. (Help and dignity for those who have been deported.)
As I do, following things until they stop, I called the number and made an appointment to go and see what this was all about.
I had been saying that I wanted to go to another country and live in another culture. Duh! It’s only 20 minutes away! (Changing my perspective!)
I arrived and along with a group of high schooler’s and parents, I walked across the border to the structure where deported immigrants were lined up for a morning meal. The mission tries to do a little education session before the meal. There were plenty of volunteers to help cook and serve and so I tried to stay out of the way. Most of them are there for only the one meal and then somehow are bussed back to their homes, further south. When they were leaving, I did what came natural to me, connecting through the heart. I stuck out my hand, touched their shoulder, looked them each in the eye, wishing them good luck and fortune.
OMG! I FELT THE POWER IN THAT!
I could feel my heart opening and the tears welling. I realized then, that while so many times we can serve, do for, care for others, but to actually BE with another is the challenge. Our own uncomfortableness arises. It takes us to a place of vulnerability and can trigger our own wounded-ness. But these are the very encounters that can be healing for all involved, the cracks that allow the LIGHT to shine through.
We left to see the Women’s shelter which is 2 apartments on the top floor next to each other. Women can stay there for up to a week. There were two at the time we went and we were able to talk with them through a translator. One was trying to go to Tennessee where she had relatives, the other to New Orleans. I was amazed at their big ambitions, they had quite a journey to travel once they did cross the border. I didn’t really have many questions at the time, but now I do! ‘What were you thinking? Are things so bleak that you’ll risk anything in the hopes of something better? Or do you see it as an adventure? While they are there they are given information about the same issues we as american women struggle with....self-esteem, domestic violence, learning to say no, etc.
Just a short twenty miles south of my home, across a fence; there are people. People like me, people who feel and hurt and struggle. People who are grateful for the help they are given. People who want to be with their families or have the courage to leave their families in hopes of providing them with a better life.
People, who no matter where they live, have the right to human decency and dignity and people who when touched also feel love and the POWER!
I came away thinking that while I don’t know what any of this means for me, I did realize that no matter what a person’s stand on the immigration laws in the US are, it’s difficult to be in the presence on another human being and not find some compassion for their life’s journey.
(Their immediate needs are of course money, but also, sugar, corn tortillas, ladies underwear and toiletries)