True Connection Requires Our Bodies — and Our Minds

We had been friends for a few years before he shared his secret with me. Even though we were eating lunch at a noisy restaurant and it was unlikely that anyone was paying attention to our conversation, Peter lowered his voice and leaned in to whisper to me: “I am undocumented.” We had been talking about his lovely mother, who lived in his home country and about whom I had heard many stories. That day at lunch, Peter also told me that his mom had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Though Peter and his mother talked and corresponded often, he hadn’t seen her since he had left his home country 15 years prior. I had obliviously attributed this circumstance to a lack of travel funds, but now I understood that it was his immigration status that prevented his return home. Now more than ever, Peter desperately wanted to visit her, but he knew that if he left the U.S. he wouldn’t be allowed to return. Given his obligations to his young family in the U.S., Peter made the heart-breaking decision not to visit his dying mom...

[I'm contributing to On Being's Public Theology Reimagined project. Head on over there to read the rest of this post...]