I have been wondering how to deal with the fact that my life is brimming with good things while others are suffering, and chaos reigns in many aspects of the larger society. There is a scale between guilt on the one hand and smug, oblivious self-satisfaction on the other that I am trying to navigate. A delicate point somewhere on that scale is a state of humble gratitude. It is delicate because it is hard to rest there for any length of time. It becomes easier when I think of gratitude as a mix of comfort and joy. That’s what I have been experiencing lately.
Let me raise a glass to current life in our house, the Pink Lady. I haven’t named her recently or written much here because things have been shuffling and changing over the past months. We are still in a pandemic, which in itself changes things. I haven’t had much new to say about that for a while. But now I see some surprising ways the pandemic has brought benefits to us, thanks partly to the vision we had when we bought this oversized old home three and a half years ago.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Yesterday was the much-awaited court date for “Ben,” the asylum-seeker in detention whom we are prepared to sponsor, that is, vouch for and support if he can be paroled to us during the asylum-application process.
The court appearance turned out to consist of interacting with a judge on a TV screen in a room at the detention center. Continue reading
Just when it looked like “Ben,” the African asylum seeker whom we are sponsoring, might wait interminably in the processing center where he is being detained just on this side of the border in New Mexico, the logjam broke. This week he was given a court date for his bond hearing: January 7. Getting a court date was a major hurdle. The prospects look good for his imminent release, though that will be up to the judge. Continue reading
Epiphany. Will I do Jan Richardson’s one-day Women’s Christmas retreat today? Probably not. It’s already past 11. Will I write? Probably not because I really know nothing and it’s already past 11. Will this be another minimalist day? Probably.
I am so inclined to minimalism and the temperature is in the single digits and it is snowing. Continue reading