Less than 2 miles from my home they live. Three refugee ladies. They have begun to share stories with me of a lovely home and land in the country. Of carefree days and university opportunities and study abroad experiences. A thriving business. One remembers their place of worship being sealed shut many years ago. Despite such opposition she remained faithful to what she believed and taught her children, who are now scattered around the globe. Then things became so bad that they had to flee. We press into a friendship that is meaningful, with joy and tears (and kisses, pre CV-19).
Pre-Corona Virus I was enjoying my time visiting in their tiny one room garage shop home. Two mattresses are on either side of the room with the walking space of one other twin mattress that lies on the floor during the night. A tiny makeshift bathroom sits in one corner. A high small window of sorts is on another wall. A makeshift kitchen is on another wall. This is far cry from the cute savvy IKEA’s one room apartment. Masses of wires are strung haphazardly across the room. A heavy metal door is how they enter and exit, “home”. It is hard and this is where they wait, day after day.
Each day represents a new opportunity to get up and wait. They wait to leave. They wait for news of hope. They wait for a phone call. They remember and mostly try to forget, things that are too painful.
Now that we are in Corona Virus lockdown mode, there is no visiting. As difficult as it is for all of us, I can only imagine for my refugee friends that this challenging time is compounded. We try to send messages of encouragement. We drop of packages of food. We pray that they will not lose hope and that one day they can find a new refuge.
As I still have the freedom to enjoy walks on our University campus, I discover spring flowers bursting forth declaring hope of the end of winter. I marvel as I find flowers growing in rock walls. They send messages of beauty emerging from hard impossible places. As I watch the world recoil from a virus, I am reminded to remember those who are facing situations that feel like a rock wall, and a single garage room. And I cling to the hope that flowers will emerge from these hard places.
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