From detention to sheltering

Ben has been with us for two weeks. The first week we took it easy. The second week we also took it easy but for different reasons.

The first week we were all catching our breath. He was getting settled into his second-floor suite in our house, greeting friends who had preceded him out of detention in previous months, getting electronically connected. We were doing a bit of shopping for essentials and getting used to each other–which was not at all difficult. We knew each other pretty well after four months of almost daily phone calls. We celebrated his arrival with a party on Friday, March 13. Continue reading

Slo-o-ow down

Who would know that it is Saturday? One day rolls into another. Hey, it’s a bit like retirement! What does corona-sheltering mean for retirees? More of the same. Intensive retirement. Moving from you don’t have to do much to you can’t do anything. You thought you’d already slowed down a lot? Well, you can slow down even more. Those frequent trips to the grocery store and library, just for a change of scenery and stimulation? They’re not happening anymore. Dinner parties? Uh-uh. No church. No meetings. No spontaneous trips to see the grandkids, let alone flights to far places.

The effect of this diminished possibility, for me, is a kind of soothing inertia. Continue reading

Help

I feel so helpless. That is the main takeaway from these days of rapidly shifting news. (Warning. This post may not be  helpful to anybody. Remember the line from the Marlo Thomas song in the seventies? “Some kind of help is the kind of help we all could do without.”) Continue reading

Beware the Ides of March

Hello, Sunday!

As recently as last Sunday my husband and I went to a buffet restaurant, although we did wash our hands thoroughly after going through the line and filling our plates using the utensils everyone else had touched. I felt a bit foolish doing this.

As recently as Friday morning (two days ago) I went with Ben to rehearse the scripture drama we were planning to perform in the church service today. Before we rehearsed we greeted the pastors, who had just decided to cancel church services for the next three Sundays. Pastor Janice made a video of our rehearsal. Continue reading

This was the week that was

On Monday at Chicago Midway airport we greeted “Ben,” the long-awaited asylum seeker we’re sponsoring, wrested from detention after more than four months. It was in the nick of time. That center near El Paso was being emptied out in preparation for a whole new batch of refugees coming across the border from Mexico. Hundreds of the previous detainees were being sent to other centers around the country. A few were being paroled. Ben got bonded parole.

Phew. He’s here. Just in time for Covid-19. Continue reading

Good news

Kate Atkinson, one of my favorite writers, wrote a novel called When Will There Be Good News? I don’t remember what the novel was about but the title has been on my mind a lot, as we have waited for Ben to be paroled as well as during the slog through what has to be (Good Lord we pray!) the last year of Trump.

Short answer: Monday, March 2. Good news came on Monday. Continue reading

An extra day

February-29-leap-day (1)

I am fully appreciating Leap Year today. This bissextile day comes exactly when I need it, coinciding with a parallel appreciation that emerged in my psyche yesterday afternoon that had nothing to do with Leap Year. Or perhaps it did.

Somewhere in the course of yesterday I forgot that it was Friday and began thinking that it was Saturday. This sometimes happens to me when I am juggling a number of different schedules, obligations, or deadlines and feeling a bit under pressure. Continue reading

A letter from prison

“Ben,” the African asylum-seeker whom we are sponsoring, has now been in detention in New Mexico for four months, waiting to be paroled or bonded out. As I’ve written before, he is part a cohort of a dozen or so Africans who came through Mexico and arrived at the border at about the same time—and the last one still in deteIMG_4068ntion.

We’ve been talking regularly on the phone these four months. He calls us Mom and Dad in the African way (he’s actually about the age of our children). We’ve written letters, too. Sometimes it’s easier for Ben, who is a journalist, to express his feelings in writing. The one that came yesterday struck me profoundly. He gave me permission to share it. Continue reading

The state of waiting

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write yet another “waiting” post. I was hoping that something would shake loose and “Ben” would follow his friends into freedom. Failing that, I was hoping I would be able to turn my creative energies in other directions to so that I would find something totally different to write about.

Neither has happened, although something could happen any minute. See, that is the problem: the expectation that something could happen any minute. Not good. Continue reading

ICE breaking?

Last Thursday afternoon, hours after I’d posted the latest update, word came that one of our three asylum seekers in detention had just been released on bond. “Our”refers to the two other South Bend couples and ourselves, sponsors-in-waiting for three African asylum seekers who have made much of the journey thus far together and have been in a detention facility on this side of the Mexican border since October. Continue reading