A parishioner's reflection on migrants drowned at sea


Date: November 2021

Let us pray for the repose of so many who have perished in their desperation of seeking only that their basic needs might be met in a land considered as offering hope - a freedom from whatever the circumstances of the life they sought to escape from.

How desperation can be defined, is so hard because everyone experiences what it is to live in such different ways, with no other person ever able to truly know what is going on in the life of another. Thankful to God I remain that He never sleeps and surely knows truly the reality of every person. That said, the tragedy that has unfolded in the Channel (sadly not an isolated reality), feels to convey a marked desperation.

Some people speak about the choices people make, but I can’t help but think that when people feel that they’re experiencing desperate circumstances, a sense of choice is removed and every thought/action becomes honed in on their plight for survival. Therefore with such context as a state of fact, the outcome does not warrant any judgment because the outcome is subject to so much that is a matter of chance.

For so many who have survived their Channel crossing (and other such precarious journeys), chance was on their side. Rather than acknowledging their courage and tenacious spirit in the face of adversity, how revealing it is when scrutiny reigns of what lack of border controls enabled their successful journey etc. My mind is such that it can’t help but think the issue of initial cause of the need to flee, is overlooked with little evidence of a Trauma Informed approach despite the reality of the alternative outcome resulting in the devastation now reported again on the news, of the peril of our fellow human beings. I sometimes wonder how such a disconnect with our fellow brothers and sisters emerged and how God our Father must weep for His Creation. Where are the hearts of empathy? Why the need to always find fault and cast fingers of judgment?

My prayers seek to go beyond anything of political conversation as it seems too easy for opposing parties to as quick as take a moment to remember victims, essentially then in the next breath, attribute blame. We have seen this reality before - oh the pain of articulating that as fact, the depth of sadness surely weighs heavy.

As the mere mortal I am, I don’t profess to have any answers but a sense of ‘can’t win for losing’ comes to mind. There is blame on the one hand for too many people crossing the border and blame on the other, when the inevitability of death strikes those who try to flee desperation. All I do know is that that seemingly never ending sense of animosity does nothing to invoke trust. Therefore, in acknowledgment of how easy it is to pass the buck of blame for matters that individually seem all too often too big for anyone to feel like they have hope to be able to fix, I seek only to ask God for wisdom to accept the great joy that each of us can bring to others through the very little things we can do in our daily lives with a sincere heart of love.

May we hold on to the sense of possibility that we can all communicate to each person we meet. Through such a hopeful lens that simultaneously acknowledges our limitations regarding the wider happenings of life as beyond our individual control, potential apathy can be dispersed in any particular moment, with any particular person, by the message we convey through our words and our actions, to remind each person that we meet, that they truly do matter. With this it is surely possible to acknowledge that collectively we all can make a difference so that others know that someone does care. Everyday I love to embrace the opportunity with the strength I ask for God to give to me, to be able to do whatever I can, to positively impact upon meeting the needs of others whom I have the pleasure and privilege to meet, albeit in my relatively tiny ‘sphere of influence’.