I have been struggling with America’s fearful reaction to refugees coming into the country in spite of assurances about vetting and reporting that the refugees are people running from terrorists. This morning I realized the futility of my struggle. People are being driven by fear. Fear so great that they cannot hear facts. Fear so great they cannot see the families and children as people like themselves.
My understanding is that the chances of terrorist coming onto the country with refugees are minuscule compared to terrorists getting in through tourism and it appears that terrorists are most often citizens of a nation who have been sucked in and brainwashed through terrorist propaganda using the media.
Nevertheless, there are no guarantees. It is possible that a terrorist could come into a country that opens its doors to refugees. I thought about this and wondered about those willing to take the risk verses those not. What does one do when a fear is justified?
Two people come to mind: Dorothy Day and Mother Theresa. Day is famous for her work with the homeless and founder of the Catholic Worker house movement. Mother Theresa founded the Missionaries of Charity that take in the diseased among the poor of Calcutta. The former opened herself, her family and her staff to the possibility of violent people coming under their roof every day. Mother Theresa opened herself and her sisters to the possibility of being exposed to diseases. But both of these saintly women brushed aside any fears that the worst could happen. They knew the risks but chose to put compassion first.
I don’t know how to help my nation overcome its fear. I regret that our leaders are willing to be driven by their fears instead of to lead. Some of these, I suspect, know that citizens’ fears are irrational, but they have succumbed to another fear, fear of not being reelected.
I am sorry, so sorry that fear reigns right now. Fear in others is one of the many things I cannot control. For the most part, I cannot control their actions either. All I can do is choose to try to live what Jesus tells me: “Be not afraid,” he said. “I go before you always.” I can in my small way try to help those in my little circle who are afraid. I can be responsive to any way God might call me to help the refugees. I can write. My part seems so small in comparison to the problems.
The painful part of all this is that while people struggle to come to terms with their fears others people are suffering. The hungry are not fed, the sick are not healed, children are not safe, those without clothes and a roof are cold, and the refugees have no place to call home.