I see who you are.
I see you wearing a hijab, arranging your daily activities around five periods of prayer.
I see you living a normal, peaceful life and observing the guidelines of your faith.
I see you raising a family, working hard, doing your best.
I saw you fearful to send your child back to our school when we reopened September 13, 2001, until we visited your home and assured you that your child was part of our community, belonged with us, and would be safe in our care.
I see you now fleeing a nightmare I can barely imagine, seeking desperately to find a way to protect your children and get them out of the horror. You are running from everything you’ve ever known, the place you have always called home. The conditions you are in as you escape are appalling, and yet you know they are better options than what you suffered before. I see you who are. You are a mama, just like me, who would give your life for your children, just like me.
I see you searching for a safe place for refuge and knowing there are nearly insurmountable bureaucratic obstacles ahead to find one. And you are surely aware of the backlash and persecution by many, those who want to close borders because of fear—fear that there may be among you those who want to hurt innocent people.
But you are one of the innocent people. And I see you.
Do you see me? Do you see my light-colored skin, the Bible on my table, the Western lifestyle I live, the resemblance I have to people who have committed genocide against Jews, enslaved and tortured people of color, and bombed abortion clinics in the name of Jesus Christ? I look just like them. I would blend right in at one of their rallies. I know this. Yet I am not one of them. Their actions and beliefs go against everything I know to be true and right and good, and I fight these things. Do you see me?
You may come from the same countries as the evil people who are bent on terror and destruction. You may wear the same clothes. You may practice the same daily observances. And you are not one of them. I know that’s not what you are. You are running from them. My mother heart aches for your mother heart.
I know that’s not who you are. I see you. I hope someday you will be able to see me too.