Go and come back. Go forward and see. Pray and listen. Come home and share. Breathe it in and breathe it out. Love through hate. Hope in darkness.
In March I will live for a few weeks near refugees, and hear their stories in the hot sidewalks of Tijuana/San Deigo. On quick appraisal, traveling to the Mexico border is foolish. My spouse asks if I’m going to the border or to the edge? Is this sojourn on the Mexican border ministry? Reflect with me reasons to leave a comfortable home and go to the epicenter of dislocation.
The White House and Congress are going ballistic over the wall that our tax dollars are paying for. How can I stop the violence so omnipresent at the wall? Like many minorities under military dictatorship, Latinx from Honduras, Salvador and Guatemala are fleeing. I realize the US wars and insurrection in the Americas over 200 years have created much of this chaos and eco-disruption. I can’t change the past, but I wish for a new relationship. Our president thinks “might makes right.” I believe in offering the power of Light, not the power of might.
Many hospitality shelters offer aid. I might offer band aids in Tijuana. But that’s not what Spirit calls me to do. I am leaning into something structural, not just giving succor. But how do I start?
I’m chewing my lip as I write. There’s nothing wrong with comforting someone’s tears or giving food to a child. Offering aid is fine. And that’s not what is in the center of my heart. A tender Quaker, Thomas Kelly said, “I am talking about a revolutionary way of living… The most important thing is not to be perpetually passing out cups of cold water to a thirsty world.”
Simply put, I’m going to the border to find myself out of my middle-class complacency. I’m going because love is alive and I want to share it with new arrivals.
I take a breath asking if I can be a living witness to love’s presence. Maybe I can sometimes, maybe even half the time. Love is dim if you meet border security officers and you see guns and electronic scanners everywhere. The man at the wall has guns and interrogates people entering. I am a Quaker and I exclaim that security and the wall are no way to treat vulnerable people.
I exhale and hope for the following aspirations: May I have clear focus in eating healthy. May I take time to write and play music. Can I be vulnerable about my anger, my confusion and tender hopes?
I am awed by being led by these words from my Meeting in Cambridge, MA.
“Friends Meeting at Cambridge, … cannot abide any U.S. policy which forcibly separates immigrants and asylum-seekers from their children. As Quakers, … we condemn this profoundly violent course… Family internment camps are little better, evoking the shame of the Japanese internment camps of WWII. …International law and human decency require us to keep ports of entry open to asylum seekers who are often fleeing brutal violence… We call our President and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to acknowledge that deliberate cruelty to those seeking to become Americans makes no American safer but only sows misery, and diminishes us all, the jailer and the jailed, the liars and those lied to. Let us turn from this evil work.”
Pray. Listen. Travel. Come back. Share divine Love. Go.