The saying “the eyes are the window to the soul” has rung true to me during my time in Nogales. It’s impossible to distinguish the emotions, life journeys, trials, and tribulations of the individuals I have encountered with the little knowledge I knew about migration coming into this journey.
The aspect of this journey I keep coming back to is through each struggle that an individual may have encountered, there is a glimmer of hope in each migrants eyes. Hope is the silver lining that keeps humanity afloat in the difficult circumstances life throws our way. While some circumstances are more difficult to overcome than others, working with migrant populations has taught me to never lose hope no matter what the odds are against you.
After listening to the stories of migrants, kin of migrants, volunteers and Jesuits who help migrants at Kino Border Initiative, attorneys who represent migrants in a court of law, and ranchers who see drug smugglers crossing their land near the border, this issue is unbelievably more complex than I could have imagined.
Compassion, however, is not a complex issue. Treating someone as a human, with dignity and respect, is something that doesn’t take years of study to comprehend. Once you see the pain in someone’s eyes that shows the struggles that he or she may have gone through or the glimmer of hope in one’s eyes that shows the triumph that he or she could reach in the future, it’s impossible to see migration as anything but personal stories. If you are touched by one life, you are touched by many.
It’s impossible to say that suffering will ever be extinguished in the world, but if we look at individuals as humans who each have dignity and rights and see marginalized populations as individuals who deserve the same respect we believe we deserve, then perhaps the complexity of suffering can be alleviated.