A former boss of mine once said to me after he had begrudgingly agreed manage the International Department in my company, “You know I hate International. I just wish I could wash my hands of it. “
I put my face down, adverting his eyes knowing I accepted the job at this manufacturing company solely for the reason of being able to work in International. Every day I would put my hands on the waxy world map in my cubicle dreaming of the places that my customers were from.
The thing is I didn’t blame him for that attitude. In fact I think
many most people share this belief about International -not only administratively, but in the real world.
International is confusing.
International is a headache.
International is a “drain on resources”
I have seen this set of beliefs permeate the media this past year whether it’s been on the news or shared on Facebook.
It’s there. You’ve seen it.
Maybe you haven’t stepped over a mother in the Parque Central squeezing her sleeping children close, knowing she doesn’t have access to a women’s shelter. Maybe you haven’t stared into the empty brown eyes of a starving child or heard of mothers who tell their children to sleep on their stomachs so they can’t hear their growling bellies –and known they don’t have food stamps?
Maybe you haven’t bought artesania from an elementary school child off the street who’s helping to support her family rather than be in school?
Maybe you haven’t seen a room full of children come to free summer camp twice a day even though it is the same material, because they don’t have the little funds required to pay for compulsory education in their small village?
I have. And I am not better for it, but I am certainly quicker to compassion and slower to judge because of it.
I do not claim to be a perfect Christian either-in fact I am far from it -but I am certain without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus would be heartbroken at the at the lack of compassion we have for our fellow humans today.
In Jesus’ own words:
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
I understand why you say, “Go back to where you came from. Get a job. Work harder.“
I understand. I do. I am compassionate towards you.
But I can assure you that there’s nothing more an immigrant wants than to go home.
To return to his homeland.
To his family.
To his language.
To his food.
To his familiar customs.
For all my travels and for as much as I embrace and truly love other countries and other cultures, I love more than anything coming home. I think sometimes we forget what a gift it is to be from this amazing, selfless country, where truly anything is possible.
It is a gift I surely remember every time I step foot on the soil of a third world country.
I think as mothers if we close our eyes and we imagine a place where our children couldn’t go to the park or to school because imminent danger was wreaking havoc on every corner of our country that we too would flee to a better place. If we imagine serving our children broth because we have nothing left but our barren land to feed them, that we too would flee. Because isn’t it human, not just American to want something better for our children?
So as you sit across the Thanksgiving table this week among your thanks for the food and for your family, why not take an extra second to say thank you for a warm home, for a safe place to raise your children, and for the very beautiful gift of being from this land of amazing land of opportunity.
I know I will be bowing my head in humble gratitude.