Help me to understand how this can be.
As a nation, we have posted the incredible words of Emma Lazarus on our Statue of Liberty as a testament to who we profess to be as a nation and the nation we have built that others only dream of living its words.
Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
How is it possible that a nation that reveres these words, that celebrates its very birth and championing of the underdog with fireworks behind the statue that holds this poem, and that has a torch to light the way at the door of our country to those who are in distress has come to the point where we rescue dogs, save whales and protect eagles, but we slam the door on a human life that we may not deem worthy? A few years ago our country sent a ship with a full crew onboard to rescue 3 whales off the coast of Alaska. We have 20 animal shelters to every human one in our country and we fund programs to protect the eggs of eagles. Father, you know I so love animals and all your creation, but can it be that these lives have become more valuable to us than one of our own sister’s?
Our country prides itself on being generous when there is a crisis in the world, at home or abroad. We don’t stop to count the cost to ourselves or our wallets, but if there is a singular human life at stake, one person’s well-being, how and why does that change?
We recently had a resident in our permanent housing for 18 years. She hasn’t been a citizen long enough to qualify for full insurance benefits and so even the State run long term medical facility, where people who are poor often go, will not take her in. During this, the final year of her life there seems to be no one who can or will meet her needs. We were told by doctors at the hospital where she entered as a patient that this lovely woman needs more medical attention than Lazarus House is capable of giving her, so we very sadly and immediately discharged her from our residence knowing she could not be released without a place to go. While nursing homes all acknowledge her need to be in a medical facility none will take her! Her services cost too much! So without hope for reimbursement they will not accept. Lord, what can we do to help her? Being poor is difficult enough when your healthy, young and energetic, never mind when you are old and infirmed.
I’m not sure when medical services in this country became a luxury, and I’m not sure when we stopped living by the golden rule and treating people “the way we want to be treated.” But, too much of our value system is based on the dollar and on “my” comfort level not being disturbed by “your” need. Is this really who we have become as a people and are we really alright with this?
Father, please forgive our failure to help this wonderful child of yours to go home to meet you in peace and dignity.