My father is an immigrant. Fifty-four years ago he made his way to Florida from Havana, Cuba, on a small boat. He had no money. He had no food. He had only the clothes on his back. I wish I could say that he was driven by hope, and that his heart was afire with inspiration. But none of those things were true for him; instead, he was bowed over by starvation and by fear. Having been treated badly from very young, his spirit was broken, and his body contracted. He had very little sense of self, or self-esteem. He had no family, and no sense of belonging to anyone, or anywhere.
But this is not a story about my father, nor is it a story about how his life and history affected the Puerto Rican woman he married, or the children that came of that marriage. This is a story of immigrant souls, and of the immigrant soul in each of us.
Each of us began our immigration from reaches unknown, and places only vaguely remembered, at best. Although we may not remember the specifics of our origins, those beginnings nevertheless follow us in our dreams and in our imaginations, sometimes haunting us in the way of a forgotten melody, sometimes spurring us to reach the tantalizing wilds on the other side of the horizon. As inevitably as the pulse of our first heartbeat continues to thrum its way through each of our incarnations, our beginnings are never separate from us. Our beginnings are also our endings that first coming- into-consciousness propels us forward into exploration of variegated unknowns - beautiful and ugly, ecstatic and painful - but all of which help us, assure, in fact, that we will ultimately give a shape and a name to our souls. And when we are finally named, we may again begin, nameless and without a name, but with every tool imaginable and not, to chisel yet another, and another
EVEN SO, despite my many names, I am an immigrant soul. I do not come from here, and I do not necessarily come from where I began. For the beginning point of anything is only a moment in the matrix of everything, an ephemeral coalescence of same, and many such moments (or points-of-coming-together) exist, even as they disappear to re-form into yet another facet of the greater sum of what they are, or have been, will be, and ASPIRE to be. And each of these still resonate with remembrance of what they were, or could have been I could have chosen any moment, and in a real sense, I did. Because I chose all moments, just as they chose me.
Some of the foregoing, to be sure, takes exception to an immediately quantifiable or logical way of assessing things, and to be sure, indulges in literary license, may I be so bold. But here's my point when we take a moment, an incident, a point in history, a cultural perspective whatever frame of reference we happen to be using at the time, it is only EVER a frame of reference, a starting place, a beginning, a point-of-anchor. That frame of reference, in and of itself, is only a reference. And we frame ourselves with this reference when we lose our sight of all the sightlines bearing down on any moment or perspective.
No thing is only what it appears to be, connected as it is to its origins, its endings, to everything between, (which is) to everything that shifts and resonates with the unblinking speed of Tao. Let me re-phrase that: Every Thing shifts, turns, and spins with and into multi-dimensions, and some of this we are able to grasp with our developing understandings of the thresholds where physics dances with metaphysics, and some of this we can observe, with delight if we will, as though they were the brilliant and evanescent burning of sparklers in a 4th-of-July night sky.
The problems of immigration on our beloved planet (among so many others), in this place and in this time, are offerings of incentives to our immigrant souls. The many issues attending immigration are brought up for our reflection, I think, as a way of helping us to remember that each of us descends to this place from vaster and vaster regions, and as such, all of us have a claim to belong here, or anywhere. Go ahead and throw in all of the logistics and practical considerations and worse- and better-case scenarios. The challenges of immigration are ultimately the challenges of Agape, and much, much, is therein implied.