To Love a Mockingbird

nicholas-and-asayes-091
Who is my enemy?

Trees are so green. Still. I love the lingering days mid-October, the temperature drops one degree lower each day. Slowly, so slowly the dahlias and sunflowers descend into a frosted land. Summer grips us tighter this year. Its talons hold on fiercely even as its fire fades. Do I love summer more than I fear winter? Once Bar St. John said that she harbored a hate towards mockingbirds. How very absurd. I was baffled beyond belief that Bar would say that. This clear woman was loved by Quakers. She played the harp and loved the world until the butterflies ate out of her hand. Could she even harbor a drop of hate. She detested mockingbirds because they were pilfering off others. She begrudged their chasing off smaller songbirds. She thought their sound was obnoxious, copying other birds without singing their own song.

She said, "I realized that my dislike was not changing the mockingbird at all. Humans have little effect on the cares of this bird. We aren't that important. So any hate that I have prevents me from loving." One morning she woke up happy to be back in her own bed. She heard a familiar cacophony. Barb had been visiting a sick person out of town. It was a symphony of beauty. She knew the birdsong of cardinals and mourning doves and the twittering of sparrows. She heard the mockingbird. And she blessed it and welcomed it. Imitating the song of others could be useful. Music composers borrowed a phrase of music often and added their own style to it. Bar was sure mockingbirds were loved by God. The birds were on earth for a purpose and her hate was only corrosive to herself.

Was Bar, a seer, giving me instruction in that preposterous task to love your enemy?' Wasn't she talking about the mundane? Changing your attitude about an annoying bird is like shaking off a creepy fear of a dark room. Or how we get used to the clicking of the electric heater. Or deciding that we can mop up a child's vomit and it won't kill us. Or is changing an old assumption about mockingbirds as pests rather sublime? I mean, think about it. This is not a simple task. Hate comes in many shrouds and we need to unveil them. I hate the Tea Party movement. I hate the military generals who derail world peace. I hate garbage, I hate pale green, I hate sleet in November. You get the picture. But what good does any of that feeling do? Anger is energizing: and hate? Hate is destructive.

Loving your best friend is as hard as loving your enemy. It's just when I consider loving someone who has hurt me, I slam into my sense of personal integrity. Such love often unloosens my grip of self-preservation. I spend more time licking my wounds than pouring a drink for my enemy. I spend more time hesitating and building my case than walking over to the other side. Xenophobia is so limiting. It's so inside the box. It's so retro. Fear of mockingbirds, or of another person is worse than retro. Fear is so Jurassic Age; it's at least 2 millennium old.

Yes, the mockingbird has a song that I can learn to love. I can only surmise how Jesus went about ‘loving your enemy.' I can only imagine what that Quaker lioness Margaret Fell meant when she claims, "We [Friends] do deny and bear our testimony against all strife, wars, and contentions that come from the lusts that war in the members, and that war against the soul." (letter to King Charles 1660). I'm guessing that Fell is saying that when I participate in war on the outside, my soul is also at war. Isn't the US in a state of endless war? I am a small mammal, trying to learn heavenly ways. We Quakers sign onto a peace testimony but our practice flounders. Quakers commit to peace, and the path is muddy with hidden sand traps. I've dedicated my life to learning how to treat others with respect. That is a stepping stone to loving others. Have I learned how to treat others? Golly. I'm as good at making peace as a cat swimming against the tide.

And I laugh at Colbert's March to Keep Fear alive at the Washington Monument on Oct 30th. but I don't have anything against the Rally to Restore Sanity. Does Jon Stewart want to clean out the destructive forces in our political ruckus? Doesn't he want to create an attitude change to political mockingbirds? Humor does open doors for peace to happen.

I love Bar St. John even though she died 10 years ago. Love will conquer fear. I will dwell in the house of love with friends. I will work on the seeds of hate inside me. And when I am called I'll venture into loving my enemies. We are all called to do this. I just hope I only have to do it until I can a full-time job. Like I can't love my enemies all the time, can I? Maybe just every election day.


Eyanna and Amani

Eyanna Flonory was loved by many people. She was just 21, learning to be an adult. She had gone to Bunker Hill CC. She had a bent to study criminal justice. Her bright-eyed, son Amanihoteph Smith , was a gregarious 2 year old. Simba Martin (21) was Eyanna's new boyfriend.

The rain drove down from low, dark clouds. The ground was saturated with water. The water blipped from the sidewalk, pounded off the church roof, seeped around highly polished shoes. It rained for hours before dawn, the hour before Eyanna and Amani's funeral, during the burial and afterward. It seemed the insurmountable rain of a tempest minus the howling winds. Simba had been buried 2 days ago.

I went to the funeral of the 2 victims at the Baptist church in Mattapan, just 2 blocks away from the murders. Three of us from Friends Meeting went. The head minister, Bishop Borders, spoke of galvanizing the community to stop such violence. "I will go on a retreat and pray for one year. I am not the same person as I was last week....I'm asking God to change the city of Boston," he prayed.

'Yanna' had many friends and an adorable child. Both were bright and eager. Not eager for death. The rains portended the rage that many felt because of Yanna's death. The bloated leaden clouds witnessed our fear. The two were killed by gunfire while mother held her toddler. Four dead­ and one with a bullet in his head who is hanging on for his life at Boston Medical Center.

Morningstar Baptist Church 10/6/10
Morningstar Baptist Church 10/6/10

This city is filled with sleek cars; we have Astroturf football fields; we have I pads and social networking. We carry around encyclopedias on small chips. We have Ben Affleck and John Hancock. We access a library of music by pushing a button and using earphones. But we are short sighted and hard put.

Because we don't have 'Yanna studying justice at college. We don't have Amani giving his sponge painting to his grandmother. We don't know who killed these 4 people, in short order on a street in Mattapan. But it's not totally the murderers fault. We accept our children carrying guns. In 2010 almost 50 people have been killed on the streets of Boston; another 26 in MA have been killed in their homes. This is an increase from the death toll of 2009. So as a people we are spilling more blood, much of it our children's.

What a crazy way we humans treat each other. Even cows, horses and goats figure how to live in the same pasture. The carnage in our cities is worse than a jungle. Humans seem to be defying evolutionary paths. Our species quite primitive, prey on each other due to anger and revenge. Even sharks have a better code of behavior.

The 20th century brought us Gandhi and Hitler. We have MLK and Milosevic. All of them acted with a sense of justice. Which path will we follow to justice? John Borders proclaims in a loud voice to stop the violence. .... "We need to work with a mother's love....This is not a natural war we must fight, but a spiritual war." Too many of our country's laws reflect punishment and killing: the death penalty, flunking students, 3 strikes and you're out. That's not forgiving, it's derogatory.

Personally I usually live in denial of such violence. I don't walk down the street listening for gunshots like those on Woolsen St. on Sept 28th 2010. I work to stop greed, bloated military budget and family violence. I'm not a Mohandas Gandhi or a Mother Teresa to stop such senseless murders.

Stopping violence is not the same as working for peace. On October 6th I prayed for Amani and those murdered at the Morningstar Church in Mattapan. I prayed as the rain swiped across tall glass windows. I cried. My tears brought me out of shock: the pain hit hard, harder than denial. But a community needs to feel before it can heal.

Oh dear hearts, Let's try to be smarter than the lemmings who run themselves off cliffs. Let's reject homicide, suicide and infanticide as a species. The rain is appropriate. Our prayers are appropriate. The heavens are harbingers of change, but only humans are make it manifest. Our hands are made of love. Put our prayers into action. Let's put our two hands forward and surround this problem. Otherwise the rain will keep washing our tears.


Do Quakers run? Fight? or Knit Together?

Every day I run by the Charles River in Boston. Every week I pick up my knitting. I love both the speed of running and the patience of knitting. My endorphins ramp up with running. Actually some call my carriage jogging, but jog is a sodden word. It does nothing for my endorphins. As I ran today yellow leaves tumbled down from the locust trees-- little scraps of plants not afraid to knock into me. The trees put on French polish before dropping their fingernails. I kept running and running, delirious.

Running is straight forward. When running I cut through confusion. Sometimes I run out of fear, running from any weakness that could kill me. I do run to save my life. But I'm not running from imminent danger, just the creeping fear of a future paralysis. I breathe deep and my body tingles.

I love both running and knitting. Gratitude infuses all of us past 50 who can still run. Thanks for stamina and the blood rising up my cheeks. But knitting is more complicated. There's design, forethought and grace to knitting. How is it that grace pertains to knitting? I can run gracefully. Twoneedles being tossed back and forth is mechanical. Is Spirit involved in knitting? It seems to be the opposite spiritual practice than running.

Knitting helps me weather Quaker thunderstorms. My spiritual nettle is tied up in the yarn. I don't knit during open worship. Holy croutons, not that. But I do knit during worship when business is at hand. Some time ago I was knitting a hat with 4 strands of thread. The strands got tumbled about. The clerk explained that Trustees had just hired an ex-convict to clean our buildings for 15 hours a week. There was anger. "We invited a low-life person to work at our church? We weren't warned about this." There was a stormy silence. I felt my hands automatically threading the yarn back and forth: knit 2, purl 2. I tried to find God's voice in the friction.

"This is totally unheard of. Who is this ex-con? Can we (the entire meeting) see his criminal record?" Some Quaker parents weren't sure whether they wanted their children in the same room with a criminal. I felt prejudice and odious racism lurking in these questions. How in God's name could my sister Quakers be racist? I breathed and knitted. I exhaled and changed needles. How do Quakers let off steam when we are glued to our chairs, our bodies perfectly still? I knitted another ½ a row. Needle front, needle back. There is rhythm, God isn't static. Forward and backward.

"Shouldn't we hear from the man we hired whether he's guilty?"
"But that's illegal."
"But he's willing to talk about how his life turned around. He's made amends."
"He's leader in the AA group."
"He's been to jail twice." Your job Minga, is to keep praying,.
Suddenly I had come to the end of my blue thread and I realized that I had a huge tangle in the middle of my skein. I looked at my orderly rows hanging from the needle: 4 blue knit; 2 white knit: 4 blue , 1 white.

Crap. I couldn't pull any more blue yarn off the skein. A maze of blue string blocked the next row. The meeting was tense. Tight, staccato voices spoke back and forth to each other.

Power Running
Power Running

"We should let him in-- he's changed his sinful ways."
Others said, "We can't be so naive - he's been an addict and a killer."
"We should trust in that of God in him."
"We should be careful in this case."

A trustee said, "But our lawyers say it's illegal to ask an employee to speak openly and jeopardize himself. We must get a waiver." There was a pause. From somewhere came the smell of fermented apples. Were people just confused between privacy of this man and whether to hire him? What do Friends do when they're stuck? I turned to my neighborhood, Sarah and handed her the mangled blue skein.

Hold this, I gestured to her. She smiled and opened her eyes in mock fear at the yarn. I started winding the loose end into a ball. I threaded the ball in and out. Sarah held open pockets in the tangle for me to weave onto the ball. My fingers were working overtime.

The clerk suggested a way for this ex-con to speak to the entire meeting. Many heads nodded. Someone apologized if they were sounding paranoid. At this point that assembly of God's people was in unison after wrestling with the injustice of incarceration, with our doubts that Spirit is in charge, with our fear of violence, with recovering addictions, with our slowness to forgive being ruled by fear. Was it fear? Or was it caution?
The rows of stitches on my needle were larger than my tangle of threads. The meeting closed and Sarah handed me back the loose yarn. My tiny ball had started the size of a grape and was now was the size of a peach. The length of the hat had only grown by a few rows, but the tangle of knots had shrunk.

Quakers get caught in the world's evils and we don't know instantly how to excavate ourselves. I get my yarn in terrible knots, feeling stuck. But Sarah held my tangle and progress was made. The design is still in place for my knitted hat. The yarn kept my hands busy so I didn't feel paralyzed in the midst of a Quaker convoluted fight.

I'd rather be running, but I can't run from human entanglements. How do you stay grounded during a heated argument?

God knows the path ahead is murky, please keep me knitting and running.


DREAM Act Dismissed by Senate Vote 56 to 43

Hello sister citizens and hell-raisers.

I'm mad. For a 54 year old happy mother and neighbor, I still feel fury. I can live with chaos. But I can't live with disgust. I am boorishly fed-up with our leaders' incompetence. I'm angry because last week in the Senate, the DREAM Act was ricocheted out of target. The Dream Act, which has been languishing in Congress since 2001 (yes, that's 9 years) was voted on Sept 22, 2010. Harry Reid amended the DREAM Act to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011. (Now the Dream is 10 years old.) What ways are the three branches of government improving jobs, health care and education?

Freedom
Freedom

I write this story to all activists who are fighting for their dream. I write to transform anger.

So I went to Scott Brown's office on Sept 21st with my friend, Susan. I had to give him a piece of my mind. He isn't giving hard working young people raised for years as US citizens half a chance. Did I tell you I was wild-eyed? Susan, made her own sign and carried it on her back as she biked into the state house. Young people were swarming around the steps of the Statehouse. They looked like a rainbow nation, many in graduation robes. All sat on the steps with funny square hats on. I talked to several trying to keep the grit out of my growl. They spoke about having a chance for a diploma from a US university. They enacted a cap and gown ceremony without the diploma. A few wanted to enlist in the navy. The sun glinted on the gold capped dome. A few crows flapped around the iron fence keeping the public off the statehouse grounds. The sky was cerulean with signs bobbing up against it saying, "I have a Dream. I want to study engineering." Or "Don't just Dream, ACT." The crows were yapping, "Caw, caw, caw." The wind blew off a black hat and it tumbled close to the curb on Beacon St.

The Dream Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), introduced when these young folks were 10 years old, hasn't done anything. No D, development. No R, relief: only a narrow portal for E, Education. No person is illegal and no A, aliens. M, for minors insults these adults. Senators, don't ignore them, don't stunt their knowledge. The Brazilian, Chinese, and Dominican, students towered over me that bright afternoon. Long brown locks blew in the wind; onyx eyes spoke out their dreams of education; a Mexican girl in low shiny flats started to cry and sputtered out her hopes to become an architect. Three crows landed in the tree above Colonel Shaw of the 54th Regiment Memorial.

"We will not be quiet.
We have heard the promise.
We knew the dream.
We were promised the dream.
We will be heard.
The Dream Act must pass."

The crows too, kept harping from one tree to the next, their necks stretched in an open throttle.

So Susan and I and others went up to the 24th floor of the government building. I barely passed the security gates because I had knitting needles on me. We listened to a Salvadoran woman speak to the Senator who'd left her country during the US-fed insurgency in the 1980s. As she spoke of her escape to this country, I looked over the steely Boston skyline and glittering harbor. The Salvadoran said her children didn't choose to come here and pay taxes. They deserve their full rights and to live here without death squads. We spoke about how the Dream University helps the aptitude of the US as a whole; it brings revenue for the state coffers; it offers justice in a land where the rich rule. But the Senator's office didn't give us much mind. It was a polite and heated conversation. Something on the order of how crows talk across the noisy street. 'Talkin' about revolution | money pays | anchor babies |no amnesty | which immigrants." We must teach the fledglings "Who migrates? "Caw, caw, caw."

Susan and I retrieved my knitting from a safe place (To muster attention from authorities, carry knitting needles!) and strode out to the day. Susan cheered me up despite our defeat. Our Senator was going to vote against the Dream Act sure as a bat out of hell. My eye caught a seagull wheeling high above the T station. Its wingspan a blade of glinting sharpness. These young people, still disenfranchised, are preparing their next fight to pass the Dream Act. They are pugnacious. They know justice is on our side.Why after 10 years are we so hopeful?Where does the will to learn and to stand proud come from even when access is denied?. Something divine is under these high-flying wings. Yes, indeed—caw, caw, caw.


USA Lurches Forward - Saalam

Why am I not elated? A pallor descends on my face. Why does my heart come to a standstill? The President pulled out the last fighting troops in Iraq, but I'm not jumping for joy. I wish I could celebrate. I admit that removing combat troops is a step in the right direction.

"Operation Iraqi Freedom ends on your watch!" exclaimed Colonel John Norris, as the last brigade crossed into Kuwait. Operation Iraqi Freedom was the name coined in our blitzing 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"Hooah!" the soldiers roared. Over 7 years of fighting is good news? As a soldier I'd definitely be delighted to pull out. The living conditions in Baghdad are torrid, so I hear. There's lower education than under Saddam Hussein 10 years ago. Since 2003 and the fall of Saddam, the war on terror and in country conflict has destabilized the Iraq education system. 2751 schools were damaged severely. Other schools experienced looting. Teachers attendance dropped drastically. It is unsafe for many female scholars to attend school.

Water, jobs, and doctors are lacking. I heard that houses, bakeries and sewer plants limp on 3-8 hours of electricity in Baghdad. Imagine that! There are many injured and an estimated 100,000 innocent Iraqis killed by troops. Need I state that the infrastructure in Iraq is much worse than 10 years ago? War destroys progress.

Vets for Peace, Boston 2007 by Scheil
Vets for Peace, Boston 2007 by Schiel

Some regimes are toppled such as the British reign in India (1930s) and the apartheid government in South Africa (1989) with a humanitarian outcome. But in Iraq since Operation Iraqi Freedom we now know there were no weapons of mass destruction, and no elimination of terrorists. Members of Al Qaeda in Iraq have increasingly resorted to kidnapping and extortion to stay afloat, General Higgins said. What freedoms did we offer the Iraqi? Do they have a democracy? No, they can't even arrive at results from the March elections. As of September 5th, there's more suicide bombings and killings in Baghdad against American troops.

Does the quality of life allow new enterprises? Has the crippling war delivered any more religious tolerance? With grinding poverty can Iraqis enjoy cultural pride of film, art and architecture? Would you be happy if a country, let’s say Sweden invaded the US saying that the religious right and the practices of oil companies was a form of terrorism? Supposing the Europeans came to occupy the USA until BP criminals could be put to trial?

I plead to Obama, Palin, or Elijah that we arrest our war making. We still have 50,000 troops in Iraq. And 57,000 in Germany; 60,000 in Japan and Korea; and now about 100,000 in Afghanistan. Altogether we have 360,000 troops deployed in other countries. We are armed to the teeth; we are a nation always at war without studying methods of peace. Instead of putting our best foot forward in other lands, we put our combat boots first. I admit to a sharp tone here, but as a Quaker, I aim to eliminate the need for war. Quaker principles aside, does anyone claim Operation Iraqi Freedom a worthy war? Iraq didn’t prosper even with our tax dollars to the tune of $751 billion gushing over there. And so in short order, we will say of Obama's Afghanistan war.
Friends, let's seize this opportunity. As the combat troops disappear out of Iraq, let all citizens ask for a time of amnesty. Each of us ask the US to do one thing to lead to peace among countries. What are the many avenues to consider? I'm asking for a 30% reduction in US military spending for our next fiscal year.

I'm aiming to salute my neighbors Asalam`alakum during this holy month. And I'm knitting wool hats and blankets during my planning meetings. I could send these to some Iraqi injured children. Or should I send it to one of the soldiers stationed in Iraq, 5,000 kilometers away from this home that is still hemorrhaging?


A Fruitful Field of Friends

So Quakers in 2010 are living on the edge. Like a song that plays over and over the human race is in continual flux. But with red oil hemorrhaging in the Mexican Gulf, and the US throwing money into the war machine and foreclosures and miners dying in West Virginia the human race is on the brink of collapse. I keep pinching myself. I keep taking showers and driving to the grocery store. My daily routine bespeaks of the Russian lullaby "May we always have sunshine, may we always have blue skies."
I wake up early each day to run by the banks of the river Charles. I go to the hospital and help empower patients. I come home to a supper of stir fry and Caesar salad. I pray constantly but I have no idea how to pray effectively. It's a life with much satisfaction, but with little justice.

But as oil continues to poison our waters the words of Isaiah come to mind, "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, child of Dawn! You who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and who would not let the prisoners go home."

In Boston I joined in the movement for a peace culture. I waved and danced at Gay Pride. Quaker Jess carried a sign that said "Friends with Benefits" crowds on the sidewalk went ecstatic seeing Jess's sign. The small print explained the benefits as "equality," "peace, "simplicity," etc. We laughed and laughed.

I went to a seminar on violence through birth control sabotage. I went to a Mother's Day walk through Dorchester, MA to honor parents whose children were killed on the streets of Boston (27 so far in 2010). These are all justice issues. But the smallest gathering of politic speak outs was not on domestic violence or street murders or gay bashing. Guess what?

The least attended was the downtown Boston International Workers Day parade on May 1st. A few hundred people gathered to hear Immigrants in the US speak out. Some Latina students dressed in graduate robes and square hats to urge support for the Dream Act. Puppets 20 feet tall overshadowed the socialist fringe. There was a die-in in front of the military recruiters office. Once in that locale there was a store hiring youth to be salespeople. Now there's no jobs so youth fight our wars overseas. In a cordoned-off 4 lane street I laid a rose down on the body bag for the young soldiers deaths.

In this story I was going to talk about the desert in the southwest of the US. I want to shout-out about egregious policies in AZ. My moniker for AZ is Mexizona. There is evil in our laws of imprisoning the immigrants. But, dear Heavenly Mother, I don't have to go to the Southwest border. I met the enemy in Massachusetts. I met evil in my backyard. I feel the fear, but courage is stronger. The justice needs to happen close to home.
…a spirit from on high is poured out on us,
And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
And righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
The effect of righteousness will be peace,
And the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. Isaiah 32


Law & Love in Ari(d)zona

Sarah and Abraham traveled from Ur to an unknown destination to find a better life. Later Abraham's children settled in Egypt due to a terrible famine throughout the land and were guests of the Egyptians. In Bosnia hundreds of families emigrated to the US, during the hostile devastation of their homeland. From the Irish coming during the Potato Famine to the Lost Boys of Sudan, there are many instances of US Christians opening their homes to economic or political refugees.

Seven Falls AZ
Seven Falls AZ

Today we face another crisis-- what about the immigrants risking their lives by crossing the Mexican border. We have a combination of Brazilians, Salvadorans and Mexicans pouring across, thousands every month. What are we to do with them?  I found that people of faith are divided as to how we are to invite and welcome these other citizens who choose to travel so far from home.

I came to the Desert in April to understand the stage where human trafficking has been increasing since 1994. The number of injuries and deaths happening on our borders has multiplied. In 1994 the INS began to militarize the Mexican border. Border Patrol were hired to enforce Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego and Hold the Line in Texas. The government capriciously calls these campaigns prevention through deterrence. But in reality they are deterrence through death. As Boeing and other companies try to build the electronic fences and the physical walls, the migration across the border changes. It doesn't change as one would expect, in decreasing the volume of entrants. But instead of traveling near populous areas, the bands of immigrants are forced to scatter over the most inhospitable desert areas.

This is the place where President Obama decided on May 26th to send 1,200 troops. He wants Congress to authorize $500 million to increase the military presence at the AZ border. Sen McCain is asking for 6,000 troops on the border. Instead of spending money on the Dream Act, they want to increase the number of sharpshooters. This will increase the deaths. Latinos crossing the border aren't deterred by patrols, they just pay more money to the coyotes who smuggle them across. The fence is just a strand of barb wire in some parts of the 2,000 mile border. The wall was built in the populated towns, like El Paso and Nogales. So with the wall, campesinos are driven to run through the abandoned areas of rough terrain and jumping cactus. Some come dressed for a freedom ride to Phoenix, they have on dress shoes, without blankets for nights nor hats for days.

The Sonora Desert is a beautiful and deadly swath of land. It covers southern and western AZ. It is south of Phoenix and east of the Mojave desert and extends south of the border from Nogales sweeping towards Baja CA. The mesquite trees like an umbrella of yellow bloom in April. The prickly-pear cactus and sage dot the chalky adobe. Spring starts in AZ in February and lasts until April. In May and June the heat is suffocating, often soaring up to 115 F. The ground is rocky or gravelly sand, the desert bushes are prickly, thorns adorn the cactus, scorpions and snakes. It's difficult to walk even with sun protection, food and liquid.

I stayed in Tucson, hiking outside, avoiding traffic. The Sonora Desert eerily doesn't seem like the US. AZ laws and schools are different, clocks don't switch to daylight savings time. Sonora Mexico is distinct from Mexico too. It's economy and police are focused on the migrations of workers headed to the US. The border isn't AZ, USA isn't Mexico, let's call it Mexizona. Obama's militarization of Mexizona takes it to a new level. He's pouring money into a militarized zone (as opposed to a DMZ), instead sending money for health, food production and education.

I wasn't altruistic, I had many questions. needs. I sojourned to find a new path in my clouded New England wilderness. I was in a dark place-apathetic and angry. Why? My Dad had died 8 months ago, feeling my own brittleness. What had I done with my life? Was I a living testament to the wonder that I felt just savoring a peach? Things I love were feeling stale.  Running by the river at dawn was... well, blah.  My children were leaving for college, my work at the hospital is in jeopardy of closing. I am in existential crisis. So I took off, left my good family and the internet behind.

This corridor is an obstacle course for a lot of human travel.  Maybe Mexizona is an exodus of people leaving the grueling poverty to a land of milk and honey. America is known as the land of opportunity, but not the promised land. The years wandering in the desert is a zone of danger. Your freedom in the wilderness comes while running from the rifles of border patrol. IF the gun doesn't nail you, the heat will suffocate.

I found Holiness and Grace in the desert. The following groups are all present, some of them I met. Some good Samaritans are: New Sanctuary Movement which includes CluE Clergy and Laity United on Economy; Interfaith Workers Justice IWJ. There's Borderlinks, Humane Borders, No Mas Muertos; and Coalition para Derechos Humanos. And this is just what I saw during my Easter visit.

Maryada & Minga
Maryada & Minga

This seems like as many groups as the do-goobers helping Haiti rise up from the earthquake. I'm just a gringo-girl, what do I know? I saw Christians and college students and retired couples coming to give water and shelter and hope. Many courageous people are helping these nut-brown sojourners who knock at the US door. May we rise out of our morass. Next blog I'll mention how.