Thursday, June 16, 2011

Guest Blog: Jar of Mayo

Sara Johnson is on a walking trip in northern Mexico near the border with the United States. This is the first in a series about her experiences there. 


Some of my most vivid childhood memories swirl around time in the water. Splashing in a pool for hours on end gave way to my nickname, "The Fish." On one particular pool day my mom packed a lunch for our family. We would be hungry after a full day of sun, sunscreen and pool time.  She packed all sorts of picnic foods. Sandwiches, chips, watermelon... and a jar of mayo? I remember seeing the jar and wondering why it was in the ice chest. It seemed so odd. 

My mom had a plan. She knew what she was doing. Time, love and energy went into packing the perfect lunch. Now here sits this jar of mayonnaise, a supposed random item to bring. But to my mom it made perfect sense. She knew someone would want it. She packed it with the hopes of satisfying someone's hunger. It was an intentional act of love. 

Now here I was, almost 20 years later, in the middle of the arid Mexico desert. This trip's focus was exploring the myriad complex sides of the immigration crisis. On a merely human level we can all see that people are dying. Moms, dads, little children, grandmas and grandpas are crossing the desert and wasting away- of thirst, starvation and medical injuries.

There are simple things we can do to prevent these deaths. One of them is providing water. That's what I was doing in the desert, filling large barrels of water for migrants to drink. (I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. Matthew 25:35)

Walking through the desert I came across a worn trail many weary travelers had used to stop, rest and eat. And then I saw it. A half-full jar of mayonnaise. 


Just a jar of mayo, right? But to me it represented a mother's love for those she cared for. I imagined a woman preparing food for the long journey ahead. Tears welled up like little pools in my eyes as I imagined a mother carefully and tenderly packing a lunch in preparation for their trek through the desert- sojourners in a foreign land. 

Someone packed this jar of mayo with the hope of it providing sustenance to those they loved. And now here it was, half-empty and abandoned.

Many half-empty, abandoned dreams are walking in the desert right now. Some are on the verge of death. There are dry, dusty mouths in the desert. Please pray they find water. And remember, humanitarian aid is never a crime.

This piece has been cross posted at Undocumented.tv/blog and piece of paz. 

Sarah Jackson lives in Denver, Colorado with immigrants from El Salvador. She is striving to be the hands and feet of love, justice and mercy as she lives with the poor and marginalized in the community. Every day she intentionally believes in the intoxicating love which travels beyond borders. Follow Sarah’s blog or connect with her on Facebook.

Please note that the views expressed by guest bloggers represent their own personal views, and not necessarily those of everyone associated with Loving the Stranger or any institutions with which the blogger may be affiliated.