They lay there together among the weeds and reeds. One barefoot, the other shod. One grown-up, the other child. A father and daughter. Floating loosely face down upon the shore of hope and salvation. Denied.
The flotsam and jetsam of political power play.
In a land that espouses Christianity, no Christian charity was to be found.
This past week, my family travelled north in a Ford f150 with brand new tires and wifi adaptor to keep two easily-bored boys from being easily bored. We fled the heat and humidity of the South for a week, on a quest for tall bluegrass and frozen custard.
This past year, another family travelled north. On bare feet and a diehard determination to keep a two-year-old daughter alive. They fled the abject poverty and gang violence of a civil war, on a quest for hope and salvation.
Two journeys northward. One for reunion. One for asylum.
Two families. One American. One Salvadoran.
Two realities: Hope and Salvation. Denial and death.
I live an amazing life. My husband and I discussed it just this past week as we were driving the long road home from up north. We had endured some hardships and misery along the way, thanks to short tempers and weak wifi, and we were trying to remind ourselves how truly blessed we are:
We have a safe, secure home, beautiful children, wonderful jobs, good health, plenty of food, a decently stable political climate — as stable as a country being led by an angry, ego-fueled, unintelligent, power-hungry, despot-leaning POTUS can possibly be — but still, stable enough that I’m not swimming for my life, my children clinging to my back as terror consumes us.
I try to imagine what that would be like, strapping my child to my back, wrapped in the fragile cocoon of a wet t-shirt, certain-death lying below us in the water and below us to the South.
I try to imagine risking everything for a chance to give my children safety and food and a decently-stable political climate. I try to imagine having none of these things. Having nothing but my children.
I would face all obstacles to give my children hope and salvation. And this, at least, I can relate to.
I try again to imagine myself barefoot at the border after months and months of walking. If I were to go through the proper checkpoints my child will be put in a cage. Kept cold. Kept hungry. Kept from me. Perhaps forever. I have heard these stories.
I am hungry, tired, dirty, and homeless; my child is hungry, tired, dirty, and homeless. But we are together. It is all we have. That, plus hope for salvation.
So instead of entering at the checkpoints, I wade into the water. By entering, I long to wash away the hunger, the exhaustion, the dirt. I long for new life. A literal baptism. Salvation waits on the other side.
Only salvation does not come.
After all this father and child endured, the miles they travelled, the extreme hardships they endured, the monumental challenges they overcame… they were ultimately ill-equipped to survive the darkness they met at the border. The border they believed held salvation.
Instead of hope, they found horror; instead of mercy, they found death.
Theirs was no family vacation to the north. There’s was a sojourn into the dark and grainy soul of modern-day America.
Juxtaposition. Two opposite things, laying side by side, made more powerful by their contrast. The juxtaposition of this desperate father and child is a powerful one. It stirs anger in many of us. And action.
But will it stir enough of us? Will it spur enough of us? To take action. To write our legislators. To send supplies. To lend aid. To protest.
To fight for the souls of these desperate families.
To fight for the souls of ourselves.
Because we are currently hiding behind righteousness and rules, but we are wallowing in horror and hate.It is a powerful and profound contrast. And it demands action.
Do something about it.
One way to help is to help fund hygiene kits for those inside ICE custody. If you live in Georgia… The Georgia Alliance for Social Justice and El Refugio are sponsoring a month-long event called Ayudamos, translated: We help. For the next month all over Georgia, they are collecting clothing and basic toiletries, and creating hygiene kits for the people most affected by these cruel immigration policies. El Refugio provides support to men in ICE custody at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA and their families.
Here is a link to the Amazon Hygiene Kit Party Wish List…