Take a Step Back and Act Compassionately


I have a confession to make. I unfriended an old friend from my Facebook page this week. Several times I posted my heartache and frustration about the children being separated from their parents at the border and he argued about the validity of this policy. One of my posts was about immigrating here at 7 years old with my parents and the devastation I would’ve felt if I was separated from them. He chastised me again. Nonetheless, my heart was aching for the children and the parents that were being pulled apart by circumstance.

Last October, I was contacted by a friend of a friend who is trying to help a woman and her 15-year-old son who had come into the country legally, with a 10 year visa. When they entered at Hartsfield airport, at the passport entry, they told the officials that they wanted to seek asylum. At that point, their passports and visas were taken and they were both put in detention. Days later they were released with mom wearing an ankle tracking device. After a number of random encounters, a call came to me that she needed a temporary place to stay with her son. After a few emails requesting housing, with no positive responses, I said they could stay with me.

Let’s call them Angel and Edwardo. What I found out is that Angel’s older son was killed several years ago. Brutally murdered. I’ll spare you the details. Now, her younger son, Edwardo, was in danger of the same fate. This is why Angel chose to leave her country and ask for asylum.

They stayed with me for just over a week and I’ve never eaten so well in my life. Angel was insistent on cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner! Their stay was a true gift to me. We shared a common bond of understanding the basic human needs of safety, community and our common humanity.

So, back to my confession. By unfriending my old friend on FB, I chose to take care of me. I needed to step away from that back and forth. But, I confess because I do want to have a dialogue with people who think radically different from me. I know that FB isn’t that place. So….should I invite him to next Thursday’s meet up?


Leanne Rubenstein 

Compassion Cultivator  

Compassionate Atlanta

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