No one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
- from “Home” by Warsan Shire
I’ve tried to imagine what it would be like to flee to another country. What would I take with me? Whom would I notify that I’m in danger and must leave? How would I safely get to the new country? Would anyone welcome me? What would I miss the most about what I’ve left behind?
Then I realize that, for now, this is simply the stuff of daydreams, an interesting reflection on what others’ reality might mean in my own life. I have the luxury of setting this fantasy aside, confident that I’m safe and secure in my home, my city, my country. The danger is that I might also forget how horrific and very real the experience of flight is for those who are fleeing the “mouth of the shark.” Luxury for them is meager—a refugee camp, a handout from a charity, a jug of water left in the desert. What is my role in turning frightening reality into safety, security, and welcome? How do I turn mere reflection into meaningful action?
God of refuge, show me how to welcome the stranger, loving their comfort and safety as much as I love my own.