Today (June 19) is my son’s graduation.
Tomorrow (June 20) is World Refugee Day.
Through the blessing of my work, these events have become intertwined.
The path to this momentous occasion for our family was a bit circuitous, as my youngest child did not exactly like school. Academics were not a priority no matter what we said. Somehow, by the grace of God, though, he managed to cross the high-school finish line.
As a teenager privileged to attend one of our area’s many excellent schools, he doesn’t always appreciate his good fortune. Our family’s many blessings, though, were affirmed during an interview with a young Somali refugee who works at Mary’s Place in Rochester.
When his family lived in a refugee camp in Uganda, he began working at the age of 12 to earn money to send his two younger sisters to school. He sacrificed his own education for theirs. I hadn’t realized how moved I was by his story, including the loss of his first child, until I later told my husband about the interview.
Because when you talk to him, he is so happy, so grateful to be living the American dream and now helps other refugees as they arrive.
These are the stories we all need to know as our country grapples with accepting refugees and separating families who cross the border into the United States.
We must not forget that we are mere travelers on this journey of life.
This journey with our son was challenging, to say the least. But reflecting on it brought up a phrase, which I know is not in Scripture, but perfectly captures how grateful and hopeful I am for our son’s next steps.
God is good all the time.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Visit https://www.catholiccourier.com/videos/somalia-native-recounts-years-of-living-in-uganda-refugee-camp on World Refugee Day June 20 for a video of our interview with Abdullahi Mohamed.