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One morning as I was preparing my breakfast, I looked out of my kitchen window to see a doe and a fawn grazing on my lawn— a normal occurrence. Then out of nowhere, I noticed the doe’s other fawn near my neighbors’ 10’ deer fence which stretched along my property line. At first, I thought the fawn was on my property, but then I noticed it running from one end of the fence to the other trying to find an opening to join his mother and sibling on my property. Occasionally, the fawn wandered further into my neighbor’s property seeking another way out.

As the sun rose higher in the sky, the doe and fawn wondered off my property and into the woods leaving behind the trapped fawn. Then I was distracted for a few minutes fixing my breakfast. The next time I looked out my window the fawn was gone, and I never saw it again. Did it escape by going to the front of my neighbor’s property even though it was gated? Will it die of exhaustion? Or did my neighbor shoot it with a bow and arrow? I will never know. Yet the doe and her fawn still graze on my property before sunrise and after sunset.

The fence, the doe and her fawns made me think of the US border wall and barriers in other countries that harm fellow human beings by excluding them. Unfortunately, history seems to repeat itself. Many people like the poor trapped fawn struggle to survive the brutalities and tyranny of war, dictators, autocrats, predators, human traffickers, slave holders, terrorists, etc. Most vulnerable people find it necessary to escape these life-threatening conditions in their home countries. Their hope is that the international community will open their doors and allow them a safe haven until such time as peace, justice, and stability are established in their home countries so they can return and rebuild their lives there. In the meantime, let us recognize the dignity of refugees and asylum seekers and give them the respect and equal rights they deserve. And let us live out Jesus’ great love commandment.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Mt. 22:37-40)