Tired mothers push their children in strollers with wheels that are coming off from overuse.
Mere children so afraid of gang violence and cartels that they're leaving their own families before they're in double digits. Walking a thousand plus miles with strangers just to have a chance at asylum. A chance to feel safe.
Mother's hearts breaking as children run off in the night to join the masses.
Pink eye from the dust stirred beneath their sore-covered feet.
Running from the kind of poverty we can't even fathom. Not the food stamp, homeless shelter, food pantry kind of poverty we know.
Afraid of their own government
of political unrest
of gang violence.
Blistered and dehydrated, the children still laugh and play and hope.
How desperate does one have to be to leave their homes, their families, their culture, familiarity, just to have a fighting chance at refuge?
Poor restaurant owners pass out beans and rice and bottled water. The people with the least helping the most.
Then we throw tear gas to those who are just asking for help. 1,243 miles later, and they extend their hands to us with high hopes and are met with poison and push back.
Denying Christ isn't just a verbal renunciation of belief, but the thousand different ways we trample the image of Christ in others.
We renouce Christ by ignoring the cries of the oppressed
by giving stones to those asking for bread
by spraying poison at children asking for peace
by protecting our way of life instead of the actual lives of others.
We deny Christ when we refuse to see his image in the lives of everyone around us: migrant, refugee, native, neighbor, and brother alike.
We deny Christ when we say we carry His name and act nothing like him.
Others will use our lives to define who God is. Do you look like Jesus? The one who offers peace and promise, or are you presenting serpents instead?
We are tabernacled by a holy God.
Filled with the capacity to hold the world within our hearts
to carry the oppressed, the voiceless, the marginalized, and to carry it all with grace.
So as mothers carry babies, and babies carry fear, let’s allow the love of Christ to enable us to carry them.
To respond to their vulnerability with understanding, to respond to their pain with aide, to allow others to jump on the same caravan of Grace that’s been carrying each and every one.
As the leaves are falling and the air is cooling, I think of her and how she loved this time of year. When the crochet hook could come out and there were pies to be made and she could sit a little longer without guilt.
I think of her as I sit in the wooden pew on Sunday. As the hymns are sung, I can still hear her alto voice, harmonizing.
For a fleeting moment when I pass her house I get excited and think I should drop in and say hello, and then I’m pained with the reality that I can’t.
I miss hearing the sing-song way she said “hellll-ooo-oh” when I opened her front door.
I love how she’d send me letters in the mail even though we shared the same tiny town.
I think of her as I enjoy the last of her homemade preserves. I enjoy each bite knowing that next year I won’t have any of the berries her hands have touched.
I miss pouring her “cuppa you know what” into her favorite coffee mug and watching her enjoy that long-drawn first sip.
I miss seeing her interact with my children. While I feel grateful they can say their great-grandmother was a special part of all of their lives, I feel greedy for more.
I miss the diaper coupons I’d get in the mail. Not because they saved me all that much, but because she was thinking of me when she took her scissors to the dotted line, just so she could keep the line between us connected. Intact.
Although she was a tender-hearted woman, she was always very tough. Maybe she wasn’t the person to console the crying, but she’d be the first to send a meal or money or an encouraging letter to remind you that God was near.
She’s not here, yet she always will be. She graces so many moments still, that’s how special she was. I am her namesake and I hope I wear it well. I hope to always remember to breathe her sweetness into those around me, so that I might keep her legacy going.