It is an early morning of the first week of my stay-cation. The days are long with-what seems, endless time. I read an article this morning from the New Yorker called: The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps: ‘“mass detention of civilians without a trial” was what made the camps concentration camps.” (I know that there is debate on this terminology and people of good will can disagree…)
I am also listening to a novel on Audible called, Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. I mostly listen when I am walking my dog. This book is about World War II, Italy, Milan, Rome, the Catholic Church and their system of underground railroad for the Jews.
Last night I began a movie about the author, JD Salinger. Kevin Spacey is playing Salinger’s Creative Writing professor at Columbia. One of his opening lines was something like: stories are the most sacred part of humanity. Stories are so sacred that we have created the Hebrew Bible, the Gospel and the Qur'an and other Holy Writings that guide us. And, we even think that God ordained these stories. Stories are sacred.
The article, the novel the movie. Quite the trio of literature.
As most of us are, I am reflecting on the children at the border, their families and I want to know more about their journey, out. Their stories must me unimaginable. Why aren’t we listening? They are sacred too.
The article on the “new” concentration camp, brought my mind to World War II, the novel I am listening to and my own families experience with that war. How hard it was and the unimaginable story that came with it and how it has lingered for a generation or two with my family.
The Fiorit’s were a few miles from the most intense battle of the war in Abruzzi, Italy. They hid from Nazi soldiers, my grandfather died and my uncles caught in war-fare for one reason or another, never to return home. My father was five years old. There are countless stories like this one.
This story of my Papa and why he immigrated to this country, among other reasons. But, mostly to be safe, to be of value and to prosper. We all know that poverty, war and destructive governmental systems cause families to leave. Wouldn’t you? We know this because most of us have a story like this, if not, we have heard stories like this over and over again.
And, yet, here we are again. It is startling to wake up to a story about concentration camps in the United States in 2019. I am still curious about the stories of World War II and what it did to my family a generation ago and what it means for me and my children, let a loan how our current war on immigrants will impact my children and their children in a generation or two. The article touches on a good argument: “It is not about terminology. Almost refreshingly, it is not an argument about facts. This argument is about imagination, and it may be a deeper, more important conversation than it seems.” You should read it!
All I know, is that in order for me to live the Gospel of Jesus is to reflect on my own personal story, tell that story with honesty and to listen with an open heart to the stories of others. I mean really listen, people. Listen like nobodies business. Listen because the stories are sacred. Listen because they matter and the story matters and they will matter for generations to come. Listen deeply, with your whole heart. Listen. Listen. Listen and share.