In her wonderful new book, Across the Street and Around the World, my friend Jeannie Marie tells an amazing story:
“I had never met a Muslim before this moment. I’d left the suburbs and driven into the city on a personal quest: to practice global compassion in my local context. I swallowed hard and dragged myself into the modest refugee resettlement office.”
After brief introductions, the administrator, Ayisha, asked Jeanne why she was there.
“Someone told me that Iraqi refugees were coming to Phoenix. So I looked it up online and found your name. It sounded Muslim. I thought it would be good for me to actually meet a Muslim. You also said on the phone that you’re helping refugees, so I thought, well, maybe I could help somehow.”
“Yes,” Ayisha said. “You can help.”
Jeannie imagined collecting food or clothing, distributing it into the grateful hands of refugees. Everyone would smile at each other. . .and then they’d all go home.
“Instead, Ayisha said, ‘I just met a young widow with three small children, who arrived last month from Iraq as a refugee. If all that you are saying is true, then I would like you to come with me to her apartment tomorrow.’ She paused before continuing. ‘American soldiers accidentally killed her husband. I would like you to come with me and ask forgiveness for the American people.’”
Serious stuff, eh? Can you put yourself in Jeannie’s shoes? What would you think about this request? How would you answer Ayisha? What would you do?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you’d like to know what Jeannie Marie did, pre-order her book here. If you do so now, you’ll get the first three chapters of the book in PDF format, 20% of the audio book, a phone lock-screen set and an exclusive bonus chapter. I’d love for you to get this important new book. Please check it out.