We pulled into a gas station for a bit of respite from construction traffic in Chilpancingo as we drove south from Mexico City a few weeks ago. While I paid for our snacks, I watched Jack crouch down by the floor-to-ceiling windows that spanned the front of the little store, his back to me.
My niece explained to her eight-year-old son that an important promise he would make to God as he was baptized early this morning is to mourn with those who mourn and to comfort those who need comfort. He was surrounded by hearts full of love and prayers for him as his father gently held him and he worked through the challenge of putting his head under the water. It was especially hard for him, but he wanted to do it and he did.
This past week on Facebook, my dear cousin plead with both the heart of a mother and the heart of a newly converted Jew for the world to pay attention to the news of the Israeli teens who were kidnapped as they walked home from school in the West Bank and murdered. At the same time, a heartrending exchange unfolded on my feed between a friend from East Jerusalem, who was pleading for people to remember their humanity, and her friend--I think a sister--who was struggling to hear her through so many mothers' tears shed when news broke of an Arab teen found burned to death.
Roger and I talked the other day about the recent influx of Central American children crossing the southern border into the U.S. He speculated about the radical transformation that could occur in the hearts of our communities if the impossible were to happen and we openly invited 50,000 families to say to the children, "Come, you have a place here with us in our homes." Impossible because we think that if we allowed it, only more would come. We have the right, we tell ourselves, to protect our way of life.
I recently heard John Shelby Spong, a Biblical scholar who is dismissed as a heretic by many Christians, speak what my soul recognizes as truth. "We need some process," he said, "That will expand our humanity beyond the barriers that we have erected in our need for security . . . [They] have made it possible for us to get to the top of the food chain, but at this moment the barriers that we have created as our defense system in our struggle to survive have begun to kill our humanity."
I couldn't figure out what Jack was doing, crouched there by the windows, until he stood up and turned, and I saw he was gently cupping a
huge insect in his hands. How long had it been banging its wings against the glass unnoticed? He carefully carried it outside and released it into a pot
of flowers blooming by the door.