When We Bring a Little Bit of Home With Us

A few simple yet cherished items that helped me feel at home in my new home.

All around the world people are fleeing their homes. Some because of climate. Some because of war. Some because of gang violence and/or crippling poverty. But they all have something in common. They left their homes and items they cared for behind. Some even left loved ones behind. The sadness, guilt, and worry must be overwhelming. And what about pets? Surely some left pets behind. That would just crush my heart. I’d have to be pretty scared to leave my dog behind.

We just left our home of 20 years. We chose to. We moved back to the country and into a smaller home. As I was unpacking a few cherished items and putting them on shelves I found myself thinking of the families around the world who have left their homes. Since I’ve been to Matamoros and Juarez along the Mexican border, I think of those trapped there. Our country won’t let them in. Even after fleeing unimaginable violence and traveling for weeks through incredibly dangerous territory, we won’t let them in. Many are living in tents, in shelters, or on the streets on the other side of the border. They are scared, exhausted, and some are sick.

When we began preparing to move I got cranky and anxious. I wondered if we were making the right decision. I thought about the years of living there and raising our kids there. I felt a bit sad. Yet I knew where we were moving to was safe and the passage to my new home would also be safe. I am not an asylum seeker or a refugee. How must it feel to leave everything you cherish behind and head out on a journey you know will be dangerous? How scary it must be to head for a new land you know will probably not welcome you. Yet they pack up their meager belongings and leave. Because that’s how desperate they are.

Once we moved and I unpacked item after item my breath began to slow and I began to relax. I felt happy as I unwrapped delicate things and a safe feeling began to envelop me. Seeing things that are familiar to me was reassuring. Again I wondered, “How must it feel to leave it all behind?” I think I have an idea. Sad, so incredibly sad, and scary beyond belief.

As each day passed and we continued to unpack our things and our pile of boxes got smaller, my world began to settle in and feel safe. Again I thought of the families living in tents, shelters, or on the streets in a country with an unfamiliar language, and unfamiliar customs. A land that was unwelcoming and openly hostile. In the case of the United States, a land where men can take your children from you. I can’t even imagine that without feeling a gut punch of fear and overwhelming grief.

Today a hurricane is hitting the east coast of TX/Matamoros Mexico, right where the tent encampment is. How will tents hold up to the rain and wind that is coming their way? Who can help them? The children will be so very scared. The adults undoubtedly will be as well. Team Brownsville and The Resource Center of Matamoros and the Sidewalk School for Asylum Seekers will be there to help when the storm passes. They will need our help in rebuilding. Please donate what you can and be as generous as you can. Click on the blue words to go to links to their GoFundMe pages.

So many issues are tearing us and our country apart right now. It’s impossible to keep on top of all of them. That is part of the plan. Be gentle with yourself as you navigate the issues in front of us. But please, don’t drop this one. Don’t forget that there are still concentration camps on our border, and around our country, housing families and children. Children are still being separated from their families. Families are still living in unsafe and horrible conditions at our border. This is our WWII Germany. Please do not look away.

Peace, Mary

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