When your heart beats in tandem with a stranger’s from afar

This is not a political statement. If I have time, I will write more legal/political analysis of the recent executive order on travel/refugee ban, but this is not that. I wrote this Sunday night when my heart was feeling so heavy.

~~~

“Why I’m Crying”

I’m thinking about those who had a plane ticket for today,

finally to depart for the promise land.

Not yet. Maybe later. Maybe not.

I’m thinking about those who received the stamp of approval last week

that they would be settling here in the United States.

I’m thinking about their smiles,

the hugs they shared in celebration at the good news—

but now tears.

Hold on, I care. He cares

I’m thinking about the ones who have never heard the love of Jesus

being turned away by a “Christian nation.”

My heart beats for you.

My heart bleeds for you.

I want it to.

If only they could know, the Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed.

And He himself was once a refugee too.

~~~

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” – Psalm 9:9

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4

Edit: I realize I didn’t explicitly acknowledge many of the specific factors that make life in a refugee camp (and life in a war zone) so hard. Yes, I’m moved thinking about the hunger and cold and other dire circumstances refugees face—more than anything. That’s why it must be all-the-more difficult and tragic for refugees who have been approved for resettlement to now hear that such hope is delayed, in some cases indefinitely.

 

On Being Pro-Life and the March for Life

I didn’t attend the March for Life this year, but I was there in spirit. Below is something what I posted on Facebook today regarding the March and last week’s march. I thought it might be good to share it here as well:

Today I did some ill-advised perusing of the #MarchforLife hashtag on Twitter. The most common criticisms I saw of the March were variations of the argument that pro-lifers are hypocrites because they don’t care about humans after birth. Beyond the general inaccuracy of this perspective, I find it frustrating because that is not an argument against the pro-life position (that we should not legalize the killing of innocent human beings regardless of their stage of life). 

The March for Life is very much a single issue event where people can and do disagree on all sorts of other political issues like gun control, the death penalty, war, economic policy, etc. I’m happy to have a discussion with you about abortion, but don’t try to get out of the argument by telling me I don’t care about human beings after birth because anyone who knows me can tell you nothing could be further from the truth.

Last Saturday, I didn’t march. Part of me wanted to. I found many of the stated causes of the Women’s March compelling. Some pro-lifers chose to go, but ultimately the organizers themselves made supporting the right to abortion an integral part of the march, so I didn’t feel like I would be accepted.

Today my heart is pulled in different directions about recent political changes, part of it grateful for the new opportunities for the pro-life movement, another part of it saddened by news of refugee programs shutting down like this: http://www.syracuse.com/…/syracuse_refugee_program_will_be_…

I, too, am annoyed by pro-lifers who just want to use abortion laws to control women’s bodies and moral choices, but that’s not why I’m pro-life. That’s not why most people are pro-life. The majority of us just believe human beings at all stages of life should have a right to live.

I’m trying to live in the tension, acknowledging my own conflicting feelings while pursuing justice for all.

#whywemarch

A Time to Mourn

There’s blood in their streets.

I see the little boy Omran in Syria with a bloodied face in shock. I see two boys hugging and wailing, mourning the loss of the brother. But that’s there. It’s not on my turf. That’s ISIS’s fault.

Except there’s blood on our street too—my street—here, in civilized America—land of the free and home of the brave.

Can we take a moment to mourn?

If all lives matter equally, then pause a moment to contemplate the gravity of what happened: an innocent man was needlessly killed. His family never will be able to hug him again. He will not finish his degree. He will never sing again in his church choir.

This was not a woman by herself acting in self-defense, afraid of a man bigger than her. There were four officers. I don’t care if he was on every drug known to man—there was no need to kill.

I’m not a very empathetic person. I know a couple people who I suspect might be Highly Sensitive Persons, and it amazes me how they just feel the pain of others. But I do believe in deliberate empathy through intentional imagining. It’s not fake; it’s sought.

If you, like me, are white, try to put yourself in the shoes of the black community. If that is too abstract, try putting yourself in the shoes of Terence Crutcher’s wife or twin sister or child.

Imagine the one who was supposed to protect you and your family killing your father.

Imagine being scared of acting imperfectly in public, scared for your life.

Imagine being angry at the person who used the terminal option when she didn’t have to.

Imagine being sad. He should be here, and he’s gone, and you loved him.

I can’t imagine, which is exactly why I need to try to.

**I have a lot more thoughts about this issue that I will eventually try to address more, but in my experience dealing talking with individuals in the anti-black-lives-matter camp, the main thing lacking (ironically in an abundance of emotion) is empathy.**