I find it strange that I came across this quote this morning...that it is Bono's, who is Irish...and that it struck me because I was having a debate with myself this morning over my personal views on immigration, and suddenly was struck by a story Mama Doretha told me about my grandfather, Bill Nelson, who we believe is from Irish descent (believing his ancestors came over as indentured servants from Ireland during the potato famine (as I have been told, but have no proof of...yet.)).
I am fascinated by the immigration debate. Full disclosure, I waffle with myself a lot on where I stand on it; it is beyond complicated. I enjoy listening to diverse voices discuss their views and positions; I learn something new almost every time. So, I am eating my breakfast this morning while watching CBS Sunday Morning (Addicted.), and before I could turn it off, once over and the political show started, I heard a snippet of a segment on immigration.
Which got me to thinking....
Now this is where it gets strange.
I suddenly thought of a story I only learned about (from Doretha) a few years ago about my grandfather. It seems he was just 13 years old when he left home in Combs, Arkansas, and headed East towards Mull, Arkansas, located at the southern end of the Buffalo National River (just Buffalo River at that time) to find work at a CCC Camp (Civilian Conservation Corps) where they were constructing and developing a state park. See snippet (with link below)...
There were two CCC camps located in Marion County: (1) The Buffalo State Park Camp under the Department of the Interior was located just off Highway 14 South-near the Othel Langston place. When the Buffalo Park became a part of the State Park System, a CCC camp was established there to construct and develop the park.
To get on with the CCC, you had to be 18 years old. Also, a portion of your wages were automatically sent back to your family. It was all part of the program which you can read more about here, but there are tons of fascinating books about the CCC out there.
So here is the rub. My grandfather was NOT 18 years old; he was 13 years old. He lied. He lied about his age so he could get work, so he could survive, and so he could help his family back in Combs, Arkansas survive.
In all of the years I have known about this and learned more from people who knew him at the CCC, I am not sure I ever felt shame or shock that he lied about his age in order to get in. AND I don't feel that now. Why is that?? I have spent a lot of time thinking about how scared he must have been to leave his parents, his family, his home. I have thought about the guts it must have taken to make his way towards a place he had never been, the long journey, knowing he might get turned away due to his age. I have thought about a lot of things. I have never, on any other occasion, drawn a line between what he did and what millions of others have done to find a better life...to survive. Until this morning.
Now...I am clearly not drawing a direct correlation...okay, maybe I am. The truth of the matter is that this country was built on and by people willing to fight, die, and work for a better life. For them. For their families. Now, I haven't found some crystal clear realization of my own position on it, but what I have discovered is that the debate hits a lot closer to home than I realized...before. Which makes me realize that I really need to formulate my own position on what I believe; I can no longer justify sitting on the fence on this one.
Unlike Bono (in his quote above), I really do believe that each of us can change the world, but like Bono, I believe you have to change the world in you...first. Part of the journey of finding my own voice has been to make hard decisions on where I stand on certain issues. It is beyond difficult for someone like me...a proud fence rider. :)))
So...here I go....listening, learning, and deciding for myself what I believe. Where I stand.
I remember once when my nephew Sam said to me, "Aunt Heather, I love it when you get fired up about something." (talking about something I believed over dinner one time) I remember giving him the strangest look, thinking it was such a peculiar thing to say. Now I wonder, what am I teaching him, the kids, when I both have no position, take no position, and/or have a position???
It is a little too much for this woman to take in on a Sunday morning. Plus, I need to get ready for church.
"Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
"...man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
whose flower and fruitage is the world..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)