#rendtheheavens Day 20

Day 20: RAW

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.

I met two new tiny cousins this year. My cousins adopted two little girls from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The story of their adoption is long, complicated, heart-wrenching and incredible. We knew them from afar for years before they arrived here in the U.S.

I can’t pretend to know what life feels like for my new cousins, their tiny siblings, and their persistent, passionate and endlessly energetic parents. I know it has been intense.

I have read about the D.R. Congo. I know that the influx of refugees in my own city includes a large number of people fleeing that country for some measure of safety here. I know that next week, the democratically elected president’s term ends, and they have no plans for another election. Yesterday, the government ordered a blackout of social media in order to prevent public protests when the term expires and the leader attempts to remain in power.

I have begun to think a tiny bit differently about the world since learning to know and to love my newest tiny cousins. They’re African, and American. Their skin is dark, and they live, now, in the American south. I worry about them – what kind of world they’ll encounter as they grow up in our racist country, in my racist hometown, in the racist structures of American life. Loving these tiny girls has made my understanding of our racialized realities and my motivation to participate in their dismantling all the more immediate, all the more real, all the more necessary.

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At a recent training for volunteering with recently resettled refugees, someone asked how we should respond if a refugee friend asked us about the anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim sentiment run amok in our country.

The woman leading the training responded, as gently as she could, that most refugees are pretty damn familiar with being treated unfairly, and that we shouldn’t be worrying about how to explain oppression to them.

Which made me wonder: instead of worrying so much about my tiny cousins, what could I be learning from them?

And good lord, y’all. The resiliency, the adaptability, the curiosity, the tenderness and the bombastic JOY of these kids; their ability to make space for themselves, to shed old habits and learn – slowly, slowly – new ones, their willfulness and survival instincts, their bent toward excitement and experience…I could go on. It is all raw – so much unedited experience of the world, from all of them. I am so, so grateful to get to know and love them, all of them.

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