October 31st, 2019
It’s been snowing here for hours. This might be expected, and be appropriate, in early December. But it’s not December. Today is Halloween. This is ridiculous.
At least I am prepared for this weather. I know to put on my insulated jean jacket, and I know where to find my warm gloves. I know to sort through the overflowing basket of scarves and knit caps that Karin had made over the last three decades. I can make myself warm enough to brave the snow and wind.
Other people cannot do this. I think in particular about the folks who are living in tents in Ciudad Juarez, on the U.S./Mexican border. I live in Wisconsin, so I expect to be cold for most of the year. The street people who stay near the ports of entry in Mexico have no understanding of cold weather. They all come from tropical climates. They are totally unprepared to live in a tent when the temperature dips down to 39 degrees (as it will tonight). These migrants do not have warm clothes, nor do they have a warm shelter.
I will grant you that their situation is not nearly as extreme as homeless people in Milwaukee. During the winter, our temperatures dive down into the minus teens, or lower. We have life-threatening cold in our city. People die here from the cold. On the other hand, we are all used to this sort of climate. The people who are stranded in Juarez have no clue. They don’t know how to adapt.
So, what will these people do? They don’t have warm clothes to survive through a cold winter. They don’t even have the money to buy the clothes that they would need to make it. Do they stay and freeze in the dark? Do they leave and return to Central America, where they can be murdered by the gangs in a warmer climate? What do they do?
I am very aware that I have it made. I have a nice house, with heat. I have a full refrigerator. I do not fear a knock at the door in the middle of the night. I live a life that most of the people in the tents would envy. I know that.
I lack only a clear conscience.
I wish that I could save these migrants. Alone, I can’t.
I can do a few things to help. Maybe I can do more. I don’t know.
I will do whatever I can, and ask God to do the rest.