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

Swallowing the stories

I have been learning gradually that what we are doing–connecting with an asylum-seeking refugee whom we have never met but who is now in detention, hoping to get him paroled to us so he can seek asylum in relative freedom rather than from prison—is kind of a new thing. No wonder it has seemed puzzling, iffy, and kind of ad hoc, with new developments at every turn. Continue reading

Life in the sponsor lane

Sometimes when you are dealing with an asylum-seeker things happen very fast, sometimes very slowly, sometimes not at all. It’s stop-start rollercoaster stuff. Last week, for example, a friend of our guys who had been held for five months in a different detention center was suddenly sprung free on parole with no explanation. There is a welcome party for her tomorrow night at the Episcopal church. Miracles do happen.

Meanwhile, we and the other two sponsor couples we’ve teamed up with, because our guys are being detained together, have adjusted our sights to the long haul. Continue reading

What is a sponsor?

Since we signed on in early November to “sponsor” an asylum-seeker who is being detained at the border, we have been learning what that means. On the one hand, you’d think such a relationship should have been clearly defined for us at the outset. On the other hand, it is not at all simple, so no one could have predicted that it would turn out the way it is currently unfolding. Continue reading

When you can’t just say no

It is the end of December 2019. I should be summing up the decade but instead I lay awake last night thinking about things I had to do this week. Isn’t that the way it is? One loses the sense of history in the face of having to get through the night or the week. I guess something must be said for living in the present.

What was snagging my attention as I was trying to fall asleep was something I had been asked to do in my capacity as chair of the Outreach team at church: Continue reading