A few days ago I had an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I was at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. What is happening there to the wildlife and the ecosystem is sad enough - and then I saw first hand what we read about in the news everyday.
As we drove on the road along the wall being constructed we turned a bend and saw a group of 15 people walking the road - 7 adults and 8 children. It was warm and they were all bundled in big coats, holding hands, arms locked together, with the youngest kids on their shoulders. We pulled up beside them, and rolled down the window to see if they were okay, and what I saw cracked my heart wide open.
They all took a step back, and came as close together as they could, and when they looked at us I locked eyes with one of the mothers.
The look of terror in hers ripped my heart out of my chest. It’s a feeling that I know only those who have children will be able to understand. The feeling that you are standing at the edge of the unknown, an incredibly scary, and potentially dangerous place, with your young children in your arms and at your side. Vulnerable and helpless.
These 15 people had come all the way from Ecuador. They were scared, they were grateful and kind when we gave them water and oranges, they were hoping against all hope that they had made the right choice for themselves and their family, and they were trusting in a power much stronger then them to make tomorrow better than today.
They walked the road waiting for Border Patrol to pick them up. Ready to bravely step into the next phase of their unbelievable journey. A journey taken from a place of deep trust and a belief in something greater than themselves.
I will see those mother’s eyes, and feel her fear and pain for a long time. The tightness in my chest will remind me to see the humanity in others every step of the road I walk. And I hope and pray that a part of you is opened by this sharing as well. Because it isn’t us and them. We are building a wall in hopes that we stop the fear and the pain. Fear and pain that lives inside of us, not outside of us created by those who are also in search of freedom and happiness.