On Things I Must Believe

There are certain things I have to believe. 

I have to believe that God is good. Though it doesn’t always seem like He is. It doesn’t seem like His plans are always good. But I have to believe He is consistent in His goodness. 

I have to believe that God thinks black people matter more than I do. That He cares more than I do. That He is present with unarmed men as they die. That He is with armed men as they die. That He stands watch as the families grieve. That He witnesses their pain and that He grieves too. I have to believe that He empathizes more than I do. 

Shouldn’t that be easy? But it’s not. Not always. Because sometimes He feels so far removed. The God who defeated death. Surely, He is bulletproof. Surely, He allows things to happen. But why? Why injustice? Why repeated injustice and oppression against specific peoples? Why deaths that are justified and explained away?

And sometimes I look at the Church. His Church. And I see the disregard. The shrugs that come with “We gotta wait for the facts” but don’t they see that a man is dead and can’t give his facts? Don’t they hear the pain of their brothers and sisters of color? Yet the church plugs her ears and closes her eyes. It is more comfortable to ignore it. Maybe it’ll go away. And where is God? Standing, ears plugged and eyes closed? Or pulling at His Church’s hands?

I have to believe that God is wide awake. And present. And feeling. And strong. I have to believe that He has a plan. A plan that is stronger than capitalism and systemic injustices and built up bureaucracy and the majority’s comfort. I have to believe that He is at work. Moving people. Bringing people together. Starting movements. Planting ideas. 

Because if I don’t believe? If I don’t, I lose it. I am hopeless. I carry everything on my own and stare at our current state, hands down, mouth slightly open, and I’m frozen. There’s so much to do and I don’t know where to begin. 

I cannot believe that we will, once again, end up on the wrong side of history. I can’t believe that we will ignore the Lord’s direction for empathy and love and compassion. I can’t believe that people’s pain will be met with shrugs and apathy and pleas for “let’s just be logical.”

I think this is an opportunity we have. And this is the time we have. And if we have to begin somewhere, let us begin with the people who are supposed to follow a God who heals the broken-hearted. Who cries with those who cry. A God of compassion and love, who reached across the aisle—all the aisles, the greatest aisle of all!—for love. 

Being Single (and Undocumented) is Hard

Did you guys see that article “Being Single is Hard” by Emma Lindsay? It was great. I read it out loud twice. I shared it with friends and coworkers. It was empathetic and real.

And it got me thinking about marriage and being single and undocumented. You see, it’s all of what that article said. And more.

The reality is: If I got married to an American citizen, I would no longer be undocumented.

This leads to people falsifying marriages so they can get papers. It leads to selective dating of only American citizens. And, for me, it also adds a lot of pressure. Because suddenly dating isn’t just about dating, it’s about the possibility of everything changing. Or it’s a waste of time—time that could’ve been used to be with someone else with whom it’d work out.

There’s also the obvious. How will this guy react to knowing I’m undocumented?

I like taking pictures of trees from underneath them. This one was in New Orleans (one of my favorite cities).

But even more than that, I hate the thought that I would owe this man so much. His marrying me would make me a citizen of this country I’ve been living in since I was 7 years old. What could I bring to the table that could ever even it out? How can I ever compete with that? I fear he’d hold it against me. Or worse: that I’d feel indebted to him and act like I were indebted to him for the rest of my life, despite his reassurances.

Add to that the fact that I’m Christian and I’ve followed all the rules I was expected to follow. That means I haven’t really dated. So my not dating has not only made it so I’m 27 and unmarried, but I’m also 27 and still undocumented.

I wish I could turn it off. I wish I could not think about all of this when it comes to dating. That I could just go for it carefree and hopeful. But I carry it with me. When do you tell a guy you’re undocumented? (Maybe referring him to this blog post is the answer.) What will he think of me? Will he think I’m with him just because of documents? Would he hold it against me? Is he ready to go through all the immigration processes marrying me would require? I carry these questions with me.

So yes to the article about how being single is hard. All that she said is so true. The expectation that we’re supposed to make ourselves “better” so we can get married. The fact that it’s harder to be healthy when you’re single. The lack of physical touch (especially when you’re Christian and restricted). Yes. All of these are a thing.

But, gosh, being single and undocumented is really really hard.