It’s been a rather disrupted week at our house. Somehow the wax ring on our bathroom toilet came unsealed and slowly leaked water under the tiles, so we didn’t know there was a problem until the baseboards started to change color and develop mold…. We’ve made lots of phone calls, had visits from contractors and an insurance adjustor, put up with lots of noise (while I’m trying to finish editing a spiritual memoir!) and generally had our daily routines rather thoroughly disrupted.

img_2236I’ve also now had first-hand experience with the work of mold remediation, and it’s been interesting. After the moldy baseboards, carpeting and wall boards were removed, the toilet area in our bathroom was thoroughly sealed off as machines did their best to remove all the moisture and mold spores from that area. I found myself pondering the fact that our business cultures have become so specialized that they’ve even created a type of zipper tape that allows workers to go into a sealed-off area with minimal disruption to, or contamination of, the outer world!

Watching the contractor work put me in mind of other types of sealing-off that are being discussed around me. So many Republican presidential candidates are adamant on the need to seal off our country’s borders to somehow protect us from other human beings—as if those immigrants were a type of mold spore that would infect this country with crime or other contaminants. The irony, of course, is that all of them are the children of prior generations of immigrants, many of whom were treated just as poorly in earlier decades.

At the same time as all this is going on, that spiritual memoir has been speaking to me. The author, a woman named Mary, had a powerful spiritual experience on a mountaintop in Mexico that led her to give her retirement years to volunteer work for the poorest of the poor in Mexico. She, in essence, did exactly the opposite of those politicians. Rather than sealing herself off from the Mexicans, she crossed the border to bring what hope and healing she could while thoroughly immersing herself in their life, their culture, their struggles and joys.

I am convinced that “Mary has chosen the better part,” to use the words of Jesus in Luke 10:42. God did not create walls, plastic, and zipper tape; we did. God did not create border patrols, fences, and guns; we did. While I appreciate the remediation work occurring in my bathroom, I do not appreciate the cultural remediation being preached by so many in our country—including in my new home state of Arizona. We, like Mary, are called to live an unsealed life.

Where, and how, are you called to live an unsealed life?

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