I haven’t been to a Global Refuge project since 2006.
I felt a little anxious going back. I could never quite get over seeing the suffering I saw on my first trip, seeing people whose lives had been shattered in the violent crossfire of a fight for power. It cracked open what I believed about God and the world.
I’ve learned some things since 2006.
For example, I’ve learned that living a life of ease and comfort in the US blinds us to so many aspects of our own existence. In many ways, we are disconnected. We expect things most people in the world can’t even hope for. Access to education, health, food, water, safety, a fair and just law system, being able to call the police, endless ability to be entertained by trivialities - these are all things we just take for granted. We are offended at the thought of any of these things being taken away from us.
But when you live without these things, the resiliency most Americans have to dig down deep to get to is daily shining through those who’ve had their lives torn apart by war.
Resiliency is inspiring. The saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” isn’t just a folktale. The strength one refugee has to muster to survive each day is so far beyond what I’ve ever known. It opens my mind to the possibilities of what people are really capable of, of what I’m capable of.
I guess I wonder, will my life ever inspire anyone the way their lives have inspired mine?