Sunday, March 05, 2006

el Tren de la Muerte (The Train of Death)

I was pawing through today's
San Francisco Chronicle when I came to the Book Review section. There was a headline that gripped me, "A child's nightmare ride". This picture broke my heart and felt me crying at the breakfast table.

Enrique’s Journey, The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite With His Mother by Sonia Nazario -- well, doesn't the title say everything, unless you are not aware of the reality of Latina Mothers who come to our rich country, who work in menial jobs, to send money back so their children may live? Our economic policies perpetuate this terrible reality. Read the review. Get the book. It is true.

Perhaps this review hit me hard because I too am now far away from my mother and I miss her. I can understand why young children would undertake an impossible journey on the chance they could find their mothers. Oh how their mother's must worry about them!

Perhaps it grabbed me because of a Latina woman I met standing in line at the Kaiser pharmacy. She is a young mother, a grad student and very anxious that she was missing class because of the long line we were both caught in. She also works for an agency that helps Latinos and Latinas who end up of the Bay Area, looking for work. Many now come from Central America. Some don't even speak Spanish, but speak their native Mayan. I sense that Enrique's Journey is lived by many people in the Bay Area, my home state of Idaho and all over the U. S.

I celebrate Lent, face fully Lent, because of stories like these. I am a woman of unclean lips who lives among a people of unclean lips.

God spoke through his prophet Amos to the rich in Israel,

"I will tear down the winter house as well as the summer house;
and the houses of ivory shall perish,
and the great houses shall come to an end,
says the Lord.

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan
who are on Mount Samaria,
who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
who say to their husbands, ‘Bring something to drink!’
The Lord God has sworn by his holiness:
The time is surely coming upon you,
when they shall take you away with hooks,
even the last of you with fish-hooks.
Through breaches in the wall you shall leave,
each one straight ahead;

and you shall be flung out into Harmon,
says the Lord. " Amos 3:15 - 4:3

Yes, this was a time long ago but the situation is so damn similar to us here in the USA today.

What to do.

First, ask God what is your part in bring justice to the poor. Then listen. Listen with your eyes. Listen with your ears. Listen with your heart. Listen with your mind.

God's promise:
"I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you." Psalm 32:8-9

God gave us minds to think with, hearts to feel with, eyes to see with, ears to hear with. Use them.


Kirstin said...

Thank you for posting this. And thank you for what you wrote to me.

Peace, courage, and strength, my friend.

Amy O'Flanagan said...

a los jovenes,
que tienes todavia suerte y amor en su viaje y la vida en general.

Muchos besos,