I have seen so many weeping mothers today. I have seen them and known their desperation as they were separated from their children, from their husbands. And I have looked them in the eyes and said, ‘Wait. Wait here. Because you cannot go back and get them. Because you have to hope that they are okay. You must simply wait.’
But to you, I will say, if it were one of my daughters? If we were in a foreign land, amidst a language that I didn’t speak, unable to control where I was going or how I was getting there, uncertain of what country I was even in … and we got separated. If I was here. And they were there. And the space between us were as good as a million miles. Would I be able to simply wait? Could I stand still? How long before I stormed the gates of hell to gather them to my breast? Then and only then would I be able to breathe.
This is my story today. Of a mom who begged and pleaded with me for over an hour to help her find her boys. Of a boy who waited for almost two hours until his brother came and they began to cry. Of a woman and her baby who were separated from her husband and he had the documents. The stories today of Opotovac and the Bapska border could flow from me for hours.
But I am tired. Exhausted. And the images of fainting people, and terrified people, of cold, and chaos, and heartbreak, and pain are too big and too complicated to put into words tonight.
So, this is my story and it ends with a kiss. Finally, we were able to reunite the mother with her children and then she kissed me. With tears of relief, she kissed me.
We estimate that today we were in the midst of 10,000 refugees … most of the day, we gave out water. We simply poured and gave water. And talked, And smiled. And answered questions. In the last 4 hours of the day, we helped at the border amidst frightened, exhausted, cold, hungry people.
If you pray, pray for peace.
This crisis is far from over — experts say at least another two years of refugee streams are expected.