For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:42-45
My girl, Cory, is afraid of plastic garbage bags. It started when she was a pup and someone, who shall remain nameless, was putting a bag into the garbage can. You know how you have to flick them forward to get the bag to open up? When the bag puffed out in her direction, she skittered out of the kitchen so fast that her little legs splayed out in all directions. Now, four years later, she runs when one is just pulled from the box. No matter how many times I tell her it is okay, try to desensitize her to the bags and teach her there is nothing in them to harm her, her fear prevails. Our country is full of fear these days. Fear of what may happen to us, fear of what may happen to those we love or even to those we don’t even know. People are comparing our times to those of early Nazi Germany. As a historian, I understand those comparisons, but they just bring even more fear. As much as I still believe in the Woman’s March and the message I hope it sent to Americans and our leaders, the time has come to go beyond signs and marching. The time has come to put our convictions to work. While our fears may paralyze us for a time, we have to move beyond our fears to help. Like Cory, I can run and hide from the thing that makes me afraid or I can do what I can to right the wrongs that seem insurmountable. The worldwide problem is made up of thousands of smaller problems. I have a dear friend who is from another country. Last week, she received word that her father is dying. He only has weeks to live, and my friend desperately wants to go home and see him before he dies. While my friend is in this country legally, so are some of the people being detained in American airports. My friend is afraid that if she goes home to see her father, she might not be let back into this country. What would happen to her American born daughter? To her home? To her possessions? To her cats? I heard another friend say to her that the intent of the newly passed Executive orders were not meant to keep her from going home and to just wait a few days and see if it sorts itself out. To my friend, It does not matter what the intent of the law might be, what matters is how it is being interpreted. How will it impact her? I could tell my friend that I am praying for her. I am. But, instead, I chose a tangible way beyond writing my congressmen, beyond protesting to help her. That is how the fear will be conquered. If each of us helps one, our love will drive out the fear. I can’t solve all the problems. But, I can help solve one.