So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:19, NLT
I have been a foreigner most of my life.
I grew up Everywhere. Mexico, Brasil, Nigeria, and the wilds of Eastern Kentucky by the time I was 10. As an adult, I've lived mostly in the South Pacific, in small island nations like Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Now I live in Texas. Which, as you know, is a special place all its own.
While I often feel like a foreigner, even now, living in my passport country, I also feel deeply connected to the far corners of the world. I feel that way because I know and love individual people far away, local people who have shown love to me. They obeyed the Law of Love, whether they'd read it or not.
Out of foreignness, for me, came the gift of Love, freely given by people who owed me nothing.
This past Wednesday night, Willie Nelson accepted the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. And he sang this song: Living in the Promised Land.
I feel passionately about the plight of refugees because I have been a stranger. I have been a foreigner. I was even kind of a refugee one time for about a week.
(That story is included in As Soon As I Fell, and if you wait til Black Friday it will be on sale.)
The good thing for me, in my stranger-stories, is that I have always found a home.
For me, the Promised Lands have been many.
Jungles and savannahs and beaches and cities.
Places I've arrived, alone and unknown, only to be received with love and kindness by local people who accepted me with all my strangeness and required almost nothing of me.
And out of the abundance that I have received, I am made grateful.
I don't know what to do about the Syrian refugees right now, all those strangers seeking a place to be safe. I will light my candles and pray. I will vote.
And I will remember that I have been a stranger and a foreigner, welcomed by Love.