They knew who I was when the event was scheduled. There were disclaimers on the flyer, in the radio interview, and at the beginning of the event. Not being the most gentle of giants, it was going to be an interesting night. And it was.
Generally, miracles are considered to be rare and extraordinary events that have come about through some Divine intervention. What constitutes a miracle is dependent on a personal view of God and of your own world, therefore, if God is not an active part of your world, then there are no miracles, just unexplained happenings. If God is active and a part of everything, then everything can be miraculous.
Last night I had the opportunity to witness a miracle. This miracle was unexpected and came as a wonderful surprise at a moment in our history when one was sorely needed.
There is an undeniable relationship between faith and miracles. Faith gives us eyes to recognize miracles. In a way, faith provides us a reason for miracles to happen: the extraordinary and unexplainable happens because of God. So faith becomes a lense through which we begin to view the events around us with a sense of awe or wonder.
Last night, to be honest, I entered the auditorium with very little faith. My presentation was entitled “Coming To America” and the focus was on the staggering chaos of our overwhelmed immigration system as well as the need for colaboration in the streets that could in theory, override much of the political sabotage we see today. The program challenged the audience to turn off their news stations and to research the truth and the facts about our current situation. It encouraged them to consider different viewpoints when it comes to immigration and how we should react to the large numbers flooding our border.
The program put forth practical solutions that were being overlooked in exchange for political actions as both sides of immigration were being pushed around the board as pawns.
I knew that this presentation was going to experience negativity. I was sure of it. People have their favorite news channels. People have decades-old opinions about immigration. Our political parties have trained us all to accept the concept of throwing out the baby with the bath water each time there is a new administration so we never move forward far or for any length of time.
Last night I spoke with authority on the real numbers and the challenges of law enforcement, ICE, CBP and even the Texas State patrol. I spoke on human trafficking and fentanyl. I also spoke of the heat, of floating barriers and razor wire. The audience listened as I had a very graceful but scared Venezuelan woman share her experiences as an immigrant in the United States and about her journey to get here.
I spoke of Kabul and planes, of shelters and buses. I spoke of rivers and barricades, walls and fences, ports and the process. I spoke of obstacles and hatred, of opinions and rhetoric.I spoke of news channel loyalty that can destroy households and friendships.
The last portion of the evening I discussed the fact there was still no real solutions save being better human beings ourselves. I referred to something written by author Vera Nazerian:
"It's a fact—everyone is ignorant in some way or another. Ignorance is our deepest secret. And it is one of the scariest things out there, because those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don't know it or don't want to admit it. Here is a quick test: If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant. Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic honest conversation. It will do both of you good.” The auditorium was silent except for the faint sound of soft sobbing. I watched as hope glimmered. I watched as an immigration attorney stood and made himself available to the community. I watched as three women from a local non-profit began to talk about new visions and ideas. I watched as an elderly woman sought out my Venezuelan guest to give her a hug.
It was not a liberal moment. It was not a conservative moment. Every person in that room wanted to stop more immigrants from entering a country with no plan. Every person in that room agreed that to be the land of opportunity we have to create that opportunity and make it sustainable. Every person in that room knew that this was on us as a country because the country to our south is no longer under the control of its government. Everyone in that room knew that our Border Patrol agents are overwhelmed and that morale is low for a very good reason. Everyone in that room knew that our administrations were failing us.
It was not a liberal moment. It was not a conservative moment. What I witnessed last night was a human moment and it was a miracle and I will take it as such.
Small changes. Small steps. It takes more small steps than it does large ones, but if they are in the right direction, it is progress.