When I taught high school, near the end of the course we had awards day, and I gave each of my students a candle, which was the most important award I gave out. It symbolized my belief that they would each make valuable contributions to the world. Cory Scheviak, a former student, unintentionally reminded me of that award when he posted a drawing by Penny Redshaw of a piglet holding a lit candle. He posted it in reference to the current discussion of the refugee crisis and our response to it.
It also brought to mind a favorite quote when I was in high school:
“When you no longer burn with love,
many others will die of the cold.”
I am saddened more than I have been in a long time by the fear-filled responses of so many Americans and many of our leaders to the unavoidable risks inherent in helping others. I believe we live in a great country with a legacy of liberty and compassion and acceptance. We honor and confirm our greatness when we extend a hand to those in need, and welcome them to our shores.
Yes, I am fearful that there’s a chance a terrorist would take advantage of our very strength to attack us. But I am more fearful that should we let the candle burning inside us go out, we will lose our greatness as a nation.
We have the resources to safely admit and care for many refugees fleeing terror, and as our National Anthem celebrates, we are “…the home of the brave.” Let’s act like it.