Monday, December 12, 2011
who is my neighbor
Karin Kraus: The Good Samaritan
It could have been me. I could have been born in a country where women are property. I could have become pregnant at an age when I should have been jumping rope. I could have contracted HIV from my unfaithful husband, had no access to medication, gotten sicker and sicker, and died before my baby's first steps. I could have suffered from mental illness in a place where you can't even find band-aids. I could have been forced to choose between losing my child forever or watching us both slowly starve. It could have been me.*
People often ask us why we adopted. It's not because we have so much to offer. It's not because we're nice. It's not because we wanted to be heroes. It's because it could just as easily have been our family torn apart by circumstances far beyond our control, the children born to us left to fend for themselves.
It is so easy to forget that. It is easy to think we are safe, we are different, or (forgive us, Lord) we are better. It is easy to pretend that we earned this life. It is easy to see ourselves as those who have climbed high enough to be able to condescend a few rungs on the ladder to help a poor soul. But we're not, and we didn't, and we haven't.
There are no strangers. We are brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and sons and daughters. We are not made to be all things to all people, but we are still made for each other.
Who is my neighbor? The one I love, not out of pity, but out of recognition. He is my son.
*These examples are not specific to Z's birth family, but they are all commonplace circumstances in Ethiopia.