On Wednesday, I had the privilege of sitting with a woman who I will call Cheryl who shared her story of traveling as a transgender woman from her home in Honduras. She spoke about how the drug gangs target trans people because they know they often do not have the support or protection of friends or family. She spoke about her attempts to refuse to carry drugs and about how that resulted in an ultimatum that she would do it or die within 24 hours. She spoke about traveling for months and thousands of months with the caravan, not only enduring the dangers of that travel—also the harassment and targeting of her fellow travelers. She spoke about being incarcerated after declaring herself at our borders, about her friend who was very ill and denied medical treatment, about how if they asked for the essential medicines, they were subject to having the temperatures lowered to unbearable cold. She talked about how her friend died. She talked about how she is now living with other transgender migrants. She talked about the churches and leaders who helped her.
These were all facts I had heard before and yet to hear them from a beautiful human being only a few feet away from me gripped my heart. On a week when I have experienced more fear than usual, I was inspired by this woman who never chose to be brave and yet was, who never chose to be strong and yet was, who never chose to be so heroic and yet was. She may never know the inspiration she offered me.
Last night I took a longer walk with my dogs for the first time in a while. As we walked, I thought of Cheryl and all the strength of the human spirit. Our ancestors believed that we, as human beings, had more resilience and strength and did not need an all-powerful God to lead our lives, though inspiration is essential.
No one should go through what Cheryl and the other migrants have been through and yet I am grateful that she shared her story and offered me some hope and peace.
The spirit of Good Friday and Passover both invite us to find renewal in the midst of challenge.