“For the Lord your God…loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deut, 10:18-19)
I had seen them in Nokomis last year in the very same spot. At that time, I didn’t know if they were transient residents or if they would permanently stay in their untidy home. Their home totters above a traffic light, over a bridge where cars pass almost constantly. One wonders why they would choose this location, but their abode provides them with opportunity to assimilate their family into a place where they have freedom to gather food and water from the intercostal waterway below. Its placement will indeed protect them from enemies and intruders wanting to cause them harm. After all, all the activity going on, all the choices they are making must be to give their young the best chance of survival.
Mama’s rapid movements, her head flashing from one side swiftly to the other and then back again, speak to me of hyper-vigilance and insecurity. Dad flies off frequently and when he returns he brings yet another stick for the nest, or if the young are lucky, he will carry a fish in his sharp talons and bring it to them selflessly. The pair seems to have a language all their own. But each time he leaves, she gets more anxious and voices a high-pitched chirp to remind him she’s there waiting for him. When he returns, she settles again.
It was the restless anxiety that she demonstrated that brought to mind the plight of the immigrants in our country. It was the cry of one mate to the other that continued to form the unusual analogy in my brain.
Why do people choose to come to our shores? They believed they could give their off-spring food, clean water, safety and a future of hope. Now the fear of family separation is more than they can bear. Can you hear their cry? I can.
So, it is in dismay that I hear the news that some people cannot have the same hope my Grandmother did when she came to these shores. It is in dismay that I hear people tell me they will go into hiding, or maybe they will be forced to leave. It is in dismay that God’s promise to us in Jeremiah 29 of a future and a hope will not apply to many of those here or those who, waiting, have gone through the rigorous vetting process only to be told they cannot come.
And so, beautiful birds fly free, calling to each other, supporting each other as they raise their young in a place that will provide for their needs. But the immigrants dream for that future of hope in our midst is like that of a tottering nest that a strong wind eventually crashes to the ground.
(Written after President Trump stops immigrants from coming to our shores.)