I have some great reads to share with you today! These are pieces that resonated with my soul in many ways. From depression in an immigrant mom to a dying mom’s prayer, there is a lot to read and take in and process.
- The Battle to Belong – Depression and an Immigrant’s Struggle to Assimilate by Roger Cohen in the NY Times. This poignant piece is a story of the author’s mother and her difficulty adjusting to life in the United States and burying her past. A beautiful piece.
Excerpt: “The strain of burying the past, losing one identity and embracing another, can be overwhelming. Home is an indelible place. It is the landscape of unfiltered experience, of things felt rather than thought through, of the world in its beauty absorbed before it is understood, of patterns and sounds that lodge themselves in the psyche and call out across the years. When home is left behind, or shattered, an immense struggle often ensues to fill the void.
I was born in London to South African Jewish parents. We left almost immediately for South Africa, lived there for two years and returned to Britain. Although the word was never uttered, we were immigrants. Our priority was assimilation into Englishness. Pogroms and penury had been left far behind. The past was as silent as a village at the bottom of a dam.”
- From Teenage Angst to Jihad: The Anger of Europe’s Young Marginalized Muslims by Abdelkader Benali in New York Times Opinion. This is a powerful piece that looks at the struggle of immigrant teenagers as they come of age and face people and opinions who they feel don’t understand where they are coming from. Jhumpa Lahiri talks about being raised by immigrant parents and says it’s like being raised in an alternate universe. It is a difficult journey for any teen in the western world to work through their identity. For the teenager who is an immigrant, there are some unique challenges.
Excerpt: Something snapped. I was 13 years old, dreaming of books and girls and nothing else — a healthy Dutch kid with a Moroccan background who freewheeled through life. Then something happened that made me feel different from the pack. One day in history class, the fatwa against Salman Rushdie became the subject. Our teacher talked about freedom of expression; I talked about insulting the Prophet. There was an awkward silence. What was that Abdelkader guy talking about? Fatwhat?
- By Degrees – Living and Dying by Kara Tippetts. Trigger Warning: Tears, maybe sobs. A mom is dying and her husband does what he has to do – calls hospice. This is a beautiful, deeply vulnerable piece about dying – but also about living. Grab tea and tissues.
Excerpt: “So, there it is. My little body has grown tired of battle and treatment is no longer helping. But what I see, what I know, what I have is Jesus. He has still given me breath, and with it I pray I would live well and fade well. By degrees doing both, living and dying, as I have moments left to live. I get to draw my people close, kiss them and tenderly speak love over their lives. I get to pray into eternity my hopes and fears for the moments of my loves. I get to laugh and cry and wonder over heaven. I do not feel like I have the courage for this journey, but I have Jesus- and He will provide it.
- Christian and Islamic Extremism and Compassion by Rachel Pieh Jones on Djibouti Jones. Rachel tackles a tough subject here. See what you think and add your own thoughts to her piece.
Excerpt: It is time to start examining our books, our traditions, our hearts. I don’t know what it will take for violence to end but I know one of the first steps needs to be developing compassion.
Compassion: to suffer with.
I don’t mean developing an emotion or an inner attitude of compassion. I mean active, engaged compassion. Intentional. In order to suffer with we have to look at each other and engage with each other. We have to know each other’s stories. In order to do that we have to get into relationships, we have to meet people. In order to do that we have to take the gigantic risk of stepping outside our homogenous circles.
On my night stand: I’m continuing with On Immunity by Eula Biss that I wrote about last week, but I’ve begun I am Malala and that is the book traveling with me to a wedding in Florida! I am loving reading about this young woman and her family. The things about Pakistan are both familiar and remind me how much I don’t know about this country.
Travel Quote: Today’s travel quote is from Robynn and it’s perfect!
How about you? What have you read? Seen? Heard? Any new travel quotes? We would love to see them in the comment section.
Picture Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/airport-travel-traveler-business-519020/ word art by Marilyn R. Gardner