In her recently published book, This Flowing Toward Me, Sr. Marilyn Lacey, R.S.M. urges us to grow in awareness of God’s holy presence pulsing beneath our feet in the ordinary stuff of daily life. Like the astonished Moses before the burning bush, we need to open our eyes and remove our sandals at the realization of God’s nearness to us in the embrace of daily life. Marilyn Lacey, who spent many years working with refugees both in Thailand and the U.S., writes of how refugees opened her to the awareness of God’s presence in the ordinary moments of daily life.
"In the busy center where I welcomed and resettled refugees from many countries, there were constant comings and going, and I was usually racing from one meeting or deadline to the next. Once day Kwot, a tall, rather dignified-looking man from southern Sudan, asked to see me. 'Sure,' I said, ushering him to a chair in my office. 'I suppose you're here about the loan we arranged . . .,' and then I blathered on for several minutes about the payment details. All the while Kwot sat there, saying not one word. Finally, I realized I was doing all the talking. I brought the monologue to an embarrassed halt. Kwot still said nothing; he just looked at me. Then he smiled and said, 'Sister, Hello.' After another polite pause, he said that he had not come about the loan. He didn’t want anything at all, other than to bring me his greetings because he had not seen me for a while. He was apologizing for not having paid attention to me for a few weeks. I immediately shrank to the size of a brussels sprout."
In her years of living and working with refugees Marilyn Lacey learned the importance of being present to others and how God comes to us in the most unexpected relationships. Refugees tend relationships because, for many of them, that is all they have. “Everything else has been lost in war and upheaval and flight and long, ‘useless’ years in a new land, without family, without possessions, without money, without even a sense of where they belong anymore in the world, and often without the language to express to new companions either their bewilderment or their hopes.”Can we allow ourselves to discover our God’s presence in the faces of our world’s refugees, in the embrace of daily life?