Meister Eckhart once said, “if the only prayer you say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” I have been praying this all during Lent as sisters, associates, and friends of the Dominican Sisters of Peace have donated socks, underwear, and money for the children seeking asylum in the U.S. We have collected more than 1350 pairs of socks and 1500 pairs of underwear for Annunciation House. It represents for me the spirit of the sisters and associates who want to make the world a little better… to be a part of something bigger… to bring a little peace into the lives of others.
In his book Fear, Thich Nhat Hanh says that looking at another with compassionate eyes and with a spirit of understanding, enables the kingdom of heaven to reveal itself. “When we are a part of a spiritual community, we have a lot of joy and resist the temptation to be overwhelmed by despair… We all need a community to keep us from sinking into the swamp of despair… We need each other in order to practice solidity, freedom, and compassion so that we can remind each other that there is always hope… In community, we produce the powerful energy of peace.” The situations facing asylum seekers are desperate and the government response is horrific but our community effort to collect socks and underwear for children in great need has highlighted a powerful spiritual family and given me a sense of hope that we can overcome fear and misunderstanding.
As you know, there are many, many children who need this clothing because their parents are determined to escape violence and live in peace. So, our work is not finished. We must continue to help them by dispelling myths and challenging (in a peaceful way, of course) those who criticize their actions. We must urge our Senators and Representatives to improve the living situations in the countries where asylum seekers are fleeing through diplomacy and aid funding. We must improve our own immigration system especially by speaking out against efforts to ban any group because of their nationality or religion and by resolving the dilemma of DACA and TPS individuals who have lived in the U.S. for much, if not most, of their lives.
I was blessed to be one of the sisters who traveled to El Paso and saw with my own eyes, the love and determination of the parents to improve the lives of their children. I am blessed again to see the generous response to this project. Thank you… thank you… thank you.
A special thanks to Gaye Reissland who painted the moving picture used on our poster.