there is some bad stuff out there. stuff that hurts. that’s confusing. that’s scary. stuff that’s painful. and heartbreaking. and it’s hard to get through it all sometimes.
there are questions and thoughts rolling around in my head. worrying me. confusing me. and i’m not pretending to understand it all… or any of it, for that matter. i can’t fix everything. i can’t make it all better. i can’t be everything to everybody. i can’t make it all go away. but i wish i could.
i wish i could fill the holes in the hearts of people. i wish i could keep people safe…
about 3 months ago, i met a young 17 year old guy from a middle eastern country. he had come to sweden to seek asylum. alone. i don’t know the story of his parents, but his sisters were living in different countries. he came here to escape war. violence. danger. he came looking for a new life, a new chance.
i met him because i do some work with refugee teenagers. last spring, i made contact with a man who works at a group home for refugee teens. and now, we have begun to collaborate on different activities – my youth at church & his teenage refugee boys, all from the middle east. it has been an amazing experience, and i have met about 50 afghani, iraqi, and iranian teens. they come to the church to hang out with me & my youth… we eat, talk (in the best way we can, using whatever language works), laugh, and dance. it has been soooo much fun getting to know all these guys. they are so amazing. and so much fun. so open & caring. and after all they’ve been through… i’m totally overwhelmed. and all of them, ALL of them, have come to sweden a.l.o.n.e. with no family. and no idea of what their future holds.
one of the guys wanted to learn better english, so i began meeting with him on wednesdays to have little english conversations. he was already pretty good, so i wondered why he wanted to learn more. but, the reason was because he was in danger of being deported back to another country. not his home country, but another place in the EU. one not so great. and he needed to know english so he could communicate.
now, i’m not saying i understand immigration services here, why they do what they do, what the rules are, & how they make decisions. but, this guy, who had been here about 6 months, lived from day to day not knowing when or if he would be sent away. immigration was always threatening deportation. he had no security. no chance to put down roots, for fear of being shipped off as soon as he began settling in. so, he didn’t settle. he just waited for the swedish government to decide his fate. and met with me once a week. but, we always wondered… could he stay? or would he go?
i wasn’t prepared for the message i got yesterday from the man who works with these boys. the teen who i’d been meeting was, in fact, deported over the weekend. with no goodbyes or anything. just gone. and oh, how i worry about him now. he was a wonderful, super nice guy. smart. polite, and so caring. i pray & hope that he is ok. and my heart aches for him. alone and afraid. again. another new place. one not quite as friendly toward refugees.
i can’t stop thinking about him. and i can’t believe i will never see him again. oh, please, let him be ok.
there is so much that is wrong in this world. so much wrong with a 17 year old boy without a family who is being shifted from one country to the next. always facing something new. and always alone. sometimes my soul hurts so much, i don’t know what to do.
but, then there are days like today, when i remember what is most important…
i have to have time to myself. to meditate. to pray. to breathe. to ground myself. for, if i’m not grounded, if i’m not balanced, then i can be of no help to anyone around me. i lose focus, panic, and forget to trust. i am my best self when i am tapped into the spiritual side of life. and to do that, i need to set aside time.
so, this morning before the sun was up, i put on a pot of coffee, lit a bunch of candles, and sat down on a rug. i spent about 15 minutes in complete silence. and i remembered who i am & who i am not. i am not my thoughts, my fears, my questions. i’m not even my joys or my happy moments. i am not my dreams and goals, or anything i make or do. my true self is something way deeper. it is something i feel only when i am still. it is that spiritual part of me that is part of you. it is the divine perfection that resides within all of us, that connects all of us to each other and to God. it is not religion or belief. it is breath. spirit.
this morning i felt it. i felt me. and i felt this young man who is now in another country, facing i don’t know what. but i felt the presence of the spirit with me and with him.
these silent moments of stillness are so important. they are irreplaceable. they get me through. and tomorrow, i’ll wake up and make time to meet my soul again.