Friday, June 22, 2018

Finding Refuge

Dear Friends,

On morning newscasts every day, we hear something about refugees, migrants, immigrants – people on the move not because they want an adventure, but because they believe they need to move on for the sake of life. They let go of their local histories and plunge into unknown places, hoping they and their loved ones survive and ultimately thrive. They are filled with fear and hope colliding with each other in their minds and hearts. The stories of children separated from parents at our southern border are especially painful to think about. Without doubt, the children will be scarred for life. This is abuse.

Since December of 2000, the United Nations has observed June 20 as World Refugee Day, to raise public awareness about refugees and their status throughout the world. The world’s people are of two minds about the refugees who come to their shores. This short poem, by British poet Brian Bilston, invites us to read the poem from top to bottom for one of these viewpoints and from bottom to top for the alternate view. Same words. Completely different take on how to treat refugees at our door.

                                                They have no need of our help
                                                So do not tell me
                                                These haggard faces could belong to you or me
                                                Should life have dealt us a different hand
                                                We need to see them for who they really are
                                                Chancers and scroungers
                                                Layabouts and loungers
                                                With bombs up their sleeves
                                                Cut-throats and thieves
                                                They are not
                                                Welcome here
                                                We should make them
                                                Go back to where they came from
                                                They cannot
                                                Share our food
                                                Share our homes
                                                Share our countries
                                                Instead let us
                                                Build a wall to keep them out
                                                It is not ok to say
                                                These people are just like us
                                                A place should only belong to those who are born there
                                                Do not be so stupid to think that
                                                The world can be looked at another way.”

Lord, protect all refugees in their search for renewed life, especially the children. May they find me open to welcome them to America. May they find support in me as I have found refuge in You. Amen.

~Sister Joan Sobala