The two men carefully bend sticks and tie them in place. Held together with scraps of clothing and rags, the sticks create a frame for a tent in the midst of the Gourougou Mountain. Random pieces of tarp tied onto the frame transform into a shelter. Meticulously, with patience to execute it well and urgency because their well-being depended on it, they turn nature’s leftovers and human leftovers into a home. The Land Between, a documentary we’re showing at Highland on Sunday as part of our Moroccan partnership, tells the stories of those who are stuck between the home they have fled and a future they cannot grasp.
I sat in my office as I previewed the film and I marveled at their survival skills, ingenuity, and teamwork. Then I marveled at their suffering and resiliency when the journalist takes us back a few days later to see the bare bones of the shelter. The sticks stand but the tarps so carefully tied have vanished. The men share the story of how the authorities chased them out of the camp and burned all their things.
The journalist leaves the camera unnervingly on the framework of sticks. Hollow. Empty. Bare to the bone. It tells of the death chasing after them AND the life enduring despite it. Continue reading
To the newborn baby in the arms of your migrant mother,
We heard news of your arrival yesterday. There were no balloons or texts. There were no Facebook announcements or professional photos. We heard of news of your birth as we were seated surrounded by the sacred stones and saints in stained glass. Your advocate and future pastor, Samuel, brought us the news from the pulpit. He mentioned no baby showers, no hospital visits, no grandparents, no newborn tests.
You were born under the radar. You were born in isolation. You were born out of the violence of rape as your mother escaped the dangers of her home countries. You were born into the masses of migrants that flood the Moroccan streets, stuck on the border of Africa and Europe. You were born stuck, homeless, and unknown for there are no documents announcing your arrival.
I feel it again on the car ride home from daycare. My daily worries, headaches, and inconveniences are pierced and shattered by word about the state of my fellow humans living around this world we share. The stories. The audible cries of the hurting.
I pause. Not to give thanks for my privileged life, but to walk a mile in the shoes of another in prayer. Seemingly inconsequential in the face of another’s impending death in war. Seemingly not enough in the face of another’s life-altering grief. Six-degrees-of-separation suggests the suffering of another is never far from me. Scripture suggests it must always be within me.
I pause and I walk next to each of them in prayer… Continue reading
Each morning, the voices and images of people across the globe flood my second floor as I prepare for the day. Through the amazing gift of technology, Brian Williams catches me up on the latest news in our world.
Women weep and cling to one another in a Chinese hotel as they await answers from the disappearance of their family and friends. Men attempt to win the battles of wars waged by greed, power, and pride that parade as politics. And then they feature a special on the children of Syria. Continue reading