Henry and I are members of the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society. We joined this educational organization when we moved to Arizona, wanting to learn more about the various cacti in our new neighborhood. In addition to monthly educational meetings for adults (which are recorded, so anyone can watch the presentations online) and various learning opportunities for children, one of the big things TCSS is known for are its cactus rescues. In fact, at our monthly meeting last week, we learned that TCSS has officially rescued 100,000 cacti over the past twenty years.
These rescues occur for a variety of reasons, but generally because land is being cleared for development and perfectly viable cacti would be bulldozed into a pile and carted away to die at the dump if they were not rescued. Fortunately, Arizona law requires that native plants be salvaged, so most companies (that won’t be holding and re-establishing plants once construction is completed) reach out to TCSS to come rescue native plants rather than risk the fines involved with destroying them. This means the rescue teams can get very busy!
As a solopreneur, I’m too busy to participate in the rescue teams, but we have supported the efforts by purchasing rescued plants. The sale of these cacti helps recoup the costs of the rescue and support TCSS educational efforts in schools. The photo above is of some rescued plants awaiting a new home in our yard, along with a thriving rescued ocotillo that we purchased a couple of years ago.
So, what does all this have to do with fleeing migrants? I’m asking myself that question as I prepare to serve as a spiritual director for participants in a Border Summit next week. Over 150 people will be gathering for two days to discuss aspects of life, service, and ministry along the US/Mexico border. We will hear from a variety of voices, including bishops and church leaders, border patrol and social service leaders, and individual volunteers and migrants.
I wonder what it would be like for us as a country, a community, to rescue 100,000 migrants who are fleeing imminent destruction (mostly through drug-cartel violence, funded by our nation’s addictions), to treat them with careful courtesy—no matter how prickly they might seem—and install them in new and safer homes. What would that cost us, literally and metaphorically? How might we benefit, literally and metaphorically? After all, God sees no borders; we are one human community….
What are we waiting for?