REFUGEE SUPPORT STORY, Day 1, The surprise of the day: The men.

Click this link for short video.

You think you’ll walk into a situation like this and your heart will ache for the youngest of babies and children, and, though, of course, it does, and the older boys seem to occupy the space inside today that, like a scanner, eagerly searches for the black and white of a solution.

Being displaced like this, or, as I even think to other parts of the world, where men are coined different or feel different in a community (of what may feel like) sameness, I see, once again, today, that they need to feel a part of something — specifically and literally — active in their search (for more) and in their experience.

Our community’s happiness comes quickest when our (young) men who grow to be the men in our families, inner cities, companies, jail cells, classrooms or governing bodies feel worthy, listened to, and when they can put their full talents and skills to use in a positive way; in a way that society benefits from, where they can ultimately, see their efforts, turned into energy used for the whole.

I am moved by how we can further relate to the men in our lives, our rocks, our romantics, our pillars of strength, our men-turned-boys in sorrow, our doers, darers and problem solvers.

Let us pay more attention to our men — young and old, alike. Women, wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, what are they really saying by their actions? Might we ask how they’re doing and not take ‘ok’ for an answer so easily? Do they truly feel heard? Do they occupy their time with the things that help them feel on purpose, a part of society and a part of the family? Just as we want it for them, do they have planned moments in their day or week to enjoy community vs. just work? In short, from the time they are young, do we love them in the ways they feel most loved and do we express that in the relationships they grow up watching?

Today, I walked camp giving out tickets to the men in each tent (most, now turned pod, as the winter months are coming) which meant they could come “shop” for jackets, pants and shoes.

They passionately asked if they would find their size this time (they really wanted to find their size this time), or told us stories of losing their brothers, leaving their parents or children behind, or of their families’ shoes being stolen the night before.

I also watched as little boys ages six, nine or eleven years old easily stepped in as their family’s leader, answering questions from us in English their parents couldn’t answer (something else etched in my cells from today ~> children ARE our future — shall we treat them as such now vs. trying to “fix” them later?).

The same boys would also eagerly step forward to help in other ways, like quickly running to grab the ID card their parents had forgotten in their tent or pod.

Beyond the simple smile or quick rub of the head, as you do to a boy who just hit a home run or made a basket, I wish I could have told them: I saw how you did that. I can feel the love and power you hold inside by how you so obviously give all you have, even when it’s uncomfortable, to those you care about (and, even to those you may not know yet or fully understand).

At the end of the day, I asked myself if I could, more honestly and deeply, walk even a minute more in the stories of the lives of the men I love. And if I did, would I be able to love them deeper, or, in other words, in the ways that most matters to them?

On the Supermoon tonight, there’s nowhere else I would rather be than with this answer, in these thoughts and with these men and with the women and children they would so clearly give their lives for, and have.

To my brother, father, husband, sun and to all the brothers, fathers, husbands and suns I met today, I acknowledge your life experience and want to ask you even more often, how are you today?

And, just in case, those words don’t happen to cross my lips, may I continue to look at you in a way, every day, as if to say, thank you for all you do in the name of love that I may not always fully acknowledge.

Love from the road,



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *