Finding God In the Margins

Reflections on Finding God In the Margins

by Carolyn Curtis James

    We awoke from a dream with warm feelings this morning. We were asleep, and in the room next door our friend Matt was playing loud music, my door opens and he walks  into the room and finds our  laundry money and as he takes some of the money,  reaches out  giving us a big hug,  and  looking into his deep blue eyes, we felt really safe, loved  and at home; Our  door  opens and our five other friends circle us laughing, hugging, and just caring. They are not blue-eyed, one set of parents comes from Columbia and Guatemala, the others are of Mexican descent. When we are driving around together we are well aware that there is no danger of being stopped with the blue-eyed one in the car; with the brown eyed one’s, there are chances we will be stopped. The blue eyed one’s mother has never been questioned if she has a job; one of the brown eyed  one’s mother was asked at a school meeting if she was on government aid, when in reality she works in a hospital on the surgical wing; and so the list goes on and on. We were  in a restaurant recently with two of our  friends, and a woman asked us  as we moved towards the restroom, “Are they illegal?” We responded, “Are you?” and moved on. Our  blue eyed friend would never have received  that response. We  never take our  brown-eyed friends to a town north of us after eleven at night, because the chances are one in three we will be stopped, with my blue-eyed friend, never happens.

    The truth is all of us are immigrants, our nation is made up of immigrants, and we immigrants are the ones who pushed the Native Americans off the grid. We are all “foreigners”.

    In Finding God in the Margins, we read:

    “For many refugees, if they have any dreams at all, their only dream is of returning to their homeland.  However deep those longings may be, thoughts of returning home inevitably are a cauldron of mixed feelings–a sense of relief at the prospect of home, of the familiar, of shedding the “foreigner” label, and of belonging, accompanied by uncertainty and dread at what “home” will look like, who will be missing, and how much of their former life will be destroyed.

    So far, the twenty first century has been a gut-wrenching education on what life is like for refugees. Terrorism, bombings, civil wars, and the accompanying threat of starvation as food supplies are cut off have driven millions of refugees away from home in a desperate, often fatal quest for sanctuary. Whole cities have been reduced to rubble. Communities have been dismantled. Civilian casualties are in the hundreds of thousands. Countless friends, relatives, and neighbors are gone forever. The Mediterranean Sea has become a watery graveyard of thousands of unmarked graves. . . p.26″.

    This book brings home the plight of our national and world crisis, but more importantly this book calls  us of all faiths to look deeper within ourselves, and rather than see national or political boundaries open ourselves to the boundaries  of God–all loving,  all caring, seeing no political boundaries.  This book calls us to view our own racism, our own fears, and place them in the hands of God, and let us become one people. And as one people to share of our wealth, so that all might be fed, clothed, have health care, and housing. This book calls us to see all borders as false, and move to openness.  This book calls us to move out of our comfortability and  care for those on the margins, so that we will have no margins. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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