With the holidays rapidly approaching, for me there is a strangeness to it, as though I am an alien having just landed on a foreign planet. Living my whole life up north, this will be the first time that I will spend an entire holiday season in a tropical place. Where is the feeling of the crisp cold air as I walk outside and observe holiday shoppers in their frenzy of consumer glory? No feeling of anticipation of possible blizzard warnings and being able to play “White Christmas” and have it come true. As much as I came here to be away from the cold, I admit a melancholy now. I simply feel, well, out of place.
This term, out of place, when we break it down and really look at it can reflect a truly heartbreaking human condition. As humans, most of us identify strongly with our place: where we grew up, our people, our city, our home.
And now for millions of people this sense of place is being ripped from their lives. Refugees all over the world, fleeing the horrors of their home must leave what they know and what gave them comfort to face potential dangers and a life on the edge. Migrant workers crossing borders hoping for a better life, living in the shadows–having left a culture because of violence, seek shelter and work, but struggle to fit in.
When I think about the idea of borders, it gives me pause. Did this earth come with borders? These human-made delineations that keep me in and you out. While it’s true that even animals ‘mark their territory’, they rarely fight to the death to protect them. There’s a fluidity in nature that humans seem to struggle against. Sharing seems to go against human nature.
As countries deal with the burgeoning refugee crises, as camps swell and overflow and our own country fights over what to do–what do we as fellow humans feel? That empathetic side to understand feeling out of place, to try to put oneself inside the body of one fleeing terror or drug gangs…would you run? And would you want someone else to have their arms open to help you?
It is simplistic I understand, but we are after all, just each a human. And this earth was birthed with no lines, no walls and no doors that said do not enter. We all stepped onto it together with the same hearts beating, the same blood flowing, breathing the same air.
Isn’t it maybe time to put our beautiful complex brains together so that we can figure out how to share this amazing planet as one?