Monday, February 23, 2009

Back-Seat Drivers

One of the great things about taking the bus in the winter is that "who cares what the weather and driving conditions are", they're not MY problem! No worries over my car not starting, the driveway or roads not being plowed, the pending ice storm... As long as I'm willing to wait and dressed warmly (thanks for the new parka, mom and dad) it's a carefree time.

However, there's always a down side. I have absolutely no say, no control in where the bus goes, when it might roar past me a mere 10 seconds in its wake, when it can't make the icy hill or when the service is threatened by strike. I realized that riding in a bus is the only time when I'm NOT tempted to be somewhat of a back seat driver, precisely because there's no one on the bus who cares one whit about my opinion!

A refugee's experience is painfully similar. While such dependency means that there are some elements of being carefree, there's so little control over the process of being accepted as a resident, or finding any space in an ESL class, or having their workplace credentials recognized or even moving the hearts of decision-makers so there's a place to live once they arrive in the country. In most ways, no one cares one whit about their opinion, either!

That's where I am leading a team of committed, compassionate servants who are making it our agenda to care, to listen and to offer some measure of control over their lives for the refugees who make Welcome Home their home. Although it can be annoying at times, back-seat drivers are indeed welcome here!