Today, I challenge you to participate in an experiment with me. Find your favorite pair of sneakers and remove the laces – not just untie them – remove them completely. Now, walk around for a while in the sneakers with no laces. Try climbing stairs, running and walking briskly. I’ve been walking around with no shoelaces in my sneakers this morning and I can tell you first hand, this is not a comfortable endeavor. My feet keep falling out of my sneakers. I have to walk slowly just to keep them on my feet. Going down stairs is not so bad but coming up a flight of stairs is really difficult. I had to work to keep my sneakers on my feet. You are probably thinking, “Why is Betsy asking me to do this?” Here is the answer.
Every day at Annunciation House, every person we serve who has shoes that should have laces has no laces. When they enter our country, Border Patrol takes their shoelaces. When I asked why, I was told so they could not run away. Some families are given Mylar blankets to keep warm. They often rip the blankets and use the strips of Mylar to try to lace their shoes but the Mylar often breaks. Shoelaces are the number one item the people we serve request when they come into the supply room. We spend a portion of our days cutting twine and cord to give them so they can tie their shoes.
My prayer today is that moving forward, the people we serve will be able to walk more comfortably and securely toward a future that carries uncertainty for them. I invite you to read my next article and continue to walk in the shoes of the refugees.