We were refugees.

After one of my ancestors was tortured and murdered by fellow Christians for the crime of not having precisely the same theological convictions as them, his family, along with tens of thousands others, fled their country, leaving behind their homes and all the possessions they couldn’t easily carry.

My family made it out safely, first into Holland, then to England, and finally to Virginia.

Had they not been welcomed by strangers–had they been met instead with a wall, a fence or soldiers turning them back–I probably wouldn’t be sitting here typing this post this morning.

22 comments on “Refugees

  1. Sue says:

    The refugee crisis in Europe is really a heart wrenching. I do understand both sides of it—I understand Europeans concern over how to support these folks, but yet, how on earth can you NOT let them in??
    War, poverty, and even rising sea levels are really going to change the dynamics of where people can live.
    We in the states, who have always been “spoiled”, cannot fathom what these people have endured. The future looks to be quite…….interesting?


    • Bill says:

      Yes it does. I realize there is a point at which the lifeboat can’t take any more people, but we’re a long ways from being there it seems to me. I’ve found the overall sympathetic response to the refugees to be encouraging and heartwarming.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aggie says:

    A mercy for our families, and yet our forefathers were free to destroy the people who occupied this land and their culture. It was a culture that generally fed humans while allowing other species to remain balanced, a culture that I wish was still living so that I could learn more from it. A culture that left massive resources for us to exploit. I think you know that my heart breaks for these people, but I’m not clear about the solution.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. bobraxton says:

    “Wald” is the name that, when the family reached these shores, became Anglicized into “Wood” and Elizabeth “Betsy” married John Thompson (son of Thomas, son of Thomas the pioneer) and their son “Sabert Wood” Thompson (Sabert W.) who was the father of my mother’s “Pa Bob” – Robert S. Thompson, died 1936 or so, father of Lonnie Albert Thompson my own maternal grandfather. “Betsy” (Wood) had a grandfather Sabret Wood (“Wald”?) and the name means (in Turkish) “one who is long awaited” another version Zabret (got corrupted into a name that sounds more like “Robert” my own name (“fame” and “bright”). Since my ancestor(s) had the name “Wood” (Wald) then I am wondering whether they may have been survivors of the church’s persecution of Waldenses:


  4. BeeHappee says:

    You know what I find most ironic and sad. It is when people say: WE worked so hard to build this, and now THEY will come and take it all and use it and destroy it. However very few ever get so passionate or protective when we work so hard to build it and protect it and banks come and take it all away and corporations come and bulldoze it all. We voluntarily give it all away to those who steal yet have such hard time sharing with those who extend the asking hand.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bill says:

      It is hard to understand why we put our faith and trust where we do sometimes. I’m hopeful that people are becoming more skeptical of the claims of the corporate industrial system. But obviously we still have a long ways to go.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. avwalters says:

    This is all the more damning when one considers that many of the refugees are on the road because climate change has made their old lives untenable. Yes, the Syrians are in the midst of civil strife, but what’s lost in the coverage is that five years of drought in Syria have flooded their cities with internally displaced people who can no longer survive in the country. The regime’s failure to deal with the underlying environmental/economic tragedies led to this debacle. (And yet internet analysis shows that only 1% of the articles covering the refugees even mention this causal link to climate.) This is only the beginning, unless we change our ways. Will we build that southern wall? What about when thirsty Californians head east? Remember the dustbowl and how badly “Okies” were received when they fled? Where will coastal folks (and everyone from Florida) go, when seas rise. I think we all need to look into our hearts and confront our choices. Not walls, but hospitality.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joanna says:

      That last sentence says it all

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      You’re right of course. Plus the drought (the worst in their history if I recall correctly) coincided with the elimination of civil authority in Iraq, leading to a civil war there that spilled over into Syria and flooded it with refugees. That component of the problem was made in the U.S.A.

      We posted an article on the farm’s Facebook page yesterday about how the wells are dying up in the Central Valley. People there have no running water and are surviving off bottled water that is trucked in. In any other time running out of water would mean that they would have to abandon the towns and move on. They’d be refugees.


  6. EllaDee says:

    Your case is inarguable, yet there are some who will persist in doing so. Not me. As usual, we are on the same page.


    • Bill says:

      Thanks EllaDee. Sometimes I see people express opinions about the refugee situation that seem cruel to me, yet I know the people and I’m 100% certain they would welcome into their home a family who showed up in need like that. It’s something of an anomaly. I find the explanation evolutionary biologists give for xenophobia to be helpful. There was a time in our history when being fearful and distrustful of persons in other tribes was an evolutionary advantage. So fear of foreigners (when irrational at least) is probably a remnant of our tribal past. Of course these days in our pluralistic society, things like racism and xenophobia seem to be evolutionary disadvantages. My guess is that in time we will shed those old prejudices, but likely there will still be plenty of suffering until we do.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, my line of ancestors here in the States started in 1874 with a man named Joseph but went by Ernst which was his middle name and his father’s first name. He and his family were brought over by a favorite uncle that didn’t have kids. His uncle not only brought him and his family from Germany but bought land for him to start farming in Schribner Nebraska. The record of Ernst’s birth was destroyed so I don’t know when he was born. One of his sons was my great grand father whom I actually knew well and lived until I was about 12. Ernst died at around age 43 when he was run over by a harvest wagon and team of horses. Ernst had 11 children before he died. My great grand father, August, was actually in the great Oklahoma land rush. I have cousins galore that I don’t even know all around this area.

    Have a great refuge day.


  8. associatedluke says:

    Their stories are our stories.


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