This past week, I have found myself flooded with images of sorrow. I have, over many years, developed ways to integrate sorrow into my landscape; to let the heartache rest and grow into something new and beautiful. I buried them in my garden, sewed them into a quilt or stirred them into a cake but this week I was too busy and the images would not be silenced. The images were raw and refused to be controlled or intellectualized away. I had not tended them and so they grew wild within my heart. I tell myself that this is inevitable and cannot be prevented sometimes. It is just how it is.
I woke up this morning, thinking of Jesus and his many stories about there being enough for everyone. I thought, quite unexpectedly about the stories of people fearing their was not enough for everyone and Jesus making enough food for everyone. I consider that the stories are really about us having faith that there will be enough for everyone and that we do not have to worry so much or hurt others because we think we will not get enough. I consider that the miracle was the miracle of a love that believes there will always be room for one more and that when we live as a community, we will always find a way to feed one more person.
In Haiti and around the world, mothers let their young babies die or abort them late in their pregnancy rather than risk that the child will grow up and starve or not have an opportunity for a good life. I saw a cardboard box full of babies whose mothers let them go rather than risk suffering later in life. I watched that cardboard box, filled with babies, fall apart. I watched the dead babies fall to the floor and be scooped back up and this is what I cannot forget. I cannot forget that somewhere they had a mother or was walking home and starting over without her baby. She did not believe that there was enough for her, her older children, her family and so this baby had to be let go.
There is enough, of course. The story of the bread and fish was not to show how powerful Jesus was but to show how powerful we can be if we believe there is enough for all.
I am pretty sure that every single act of injustice was based on the belief that to include everyone would mean not enough for others. In these many acts of genocide and destruction, I am sure someone believed that there was not enough land, not enough money, not enough room for everyone and so someone had to be eliminated or kept out. To accomplish this great act of exclusion borders were created, stories were told and retold. Caste systems were created. Reservations and camps and barbwire were put up. We stopped being tribes who care for one another. We became a patchwork of islands fighting one another.
Through all of this, mothers had babies and struggled to give them every opportunity to survive and thrive. In Haiti, mothers make hard decisions. For all of time, mothers have been forced to let their babies go. I close my eyes and I see babies tumbling out of a cardboard onto the floor and being scooped up again; small hands and bodies intertwined. Many people have tried to analyze the history of Haiti. We have watched movies of slaves mothers on ships choosing death for their unborn rather than slavery. We know that the United States and France drew a line around that small nation to punish them for wanting freedom. The devastating result of those decisions is a box of dead babies tumbling to the floor.
We cannot close doors, close border, close boundaries, close neighborhoods without devastating results for someone somewhere. We may be afraid that there will not be enough but perhaps a balance will emerge and the one loaf of bread and one fish will become many. Perhaps we are our own miracle.
If you know what equity means; if you believe in the civil rights of all people, when you are asked to be afraid that there is not enough room, not enough time, not enough things open your door wide and put your arms around the mother who stands before you with her baby born or unborn and whisper in her ear that you may not be sure what is in your cupboard but what ever is there is hers to share. Do this as a neighbor, as a community and as a country.
I can see that everyday the world offers me metaphoric opportunities to turn one loaf of bread and one fish into enough to feed the whole village. I can live with this faith or fear. I am crushed by the image of the babies and all the many pieces of history that went into that box. What I do know is that someone somewhere has profited and is continuing to profit from the inequities that caused their dying. Nations and people are resource deprived because someone, somewhere has drawn a line around a group, a village, a nation, a religion an idea. I have come to see that civil rights and human rights does not allow us time to weigh the economic benefits for ourselves. There is only the long, slow, steady belief that with faith and love there will be enough for all. “All Born In” unconditionally.