A Letter to the Parents in my Neighborhood

To the parents in my neighborhood,
I’ve never seen a love quite like yours. I’ve never seen so many moms and dads, grown men and women, give up so much for the sake of their kids. To be fair, some of you came from very humble, war-torn places, so maybe it doesn’t seem like you gave up that much. Poverty and persecution may have always been a part of your story. Nevertheless, I see your sacrifice. To the parents who left home—the place that might have been in their family for generations—I see your dedication. I see your love.

You fix your eyes ahead to a place I can’t quite grasp, and neither can you. You fixate on something that may or may not happen. Your eyes are on the future—the future of your kids. Only God knows if it will turn out how you dream it might, but you still hope and long and pray for it to come.

Everything you do now has the potential to change the trajectory of your family forever.

Everything you do is for your children. Every job that feels beneath you. Every dollar you save so your kids can have a better education or join extracurricular activities. It’s all for them. I’ve never met such sacrificial people. I’ve never encountered this kind of love in flesh and bone.

That’s not to say my parents didn’t love me the same way you love your kids. They absolutely did, but I see a kind of giving that feels so rare. It gives it all. It works long, grueling hours. It takes the jobs no one else wants. Your love astounds me.

And while it’s not always perfect, while I may not always agree with you, I can’t help but admire and respect you with profound awe. You imagine a future that could exist for your kids, for your family. But you’re not just affecting one generation. Everything you do now has the potential to change the trajectory of your family forever.

As a woman with no children, no husband—just me—I hope that one day I will have the sacrificial love you have for your kids. I hope I look at the horizon and dream of something so much bigger than myself. Let me borrow your eyes to see a future that could come. Let me see what you see and do what you do because you do so much.

To the parent who did all of this for their child’s future—hoping against all things to see it blossom into something beautiful—I see you, and I admire you.

So
To the parent who struggles to read emails and letters sent from their child’s school, I see you, and I admire you.
To the parent who works the night shift cleaning dirty airplanes at O’Hare airport, I see you, and I admire you.
To the parent who can’t seem to find their place in this strange American culture, I see you, and I admire you. 
To the parent who worries that their children will lose their culture and language, I see you and I admire you.
To the parent who left a comfortable culture and language, I see you, and I admire you.
To the parent who did all of this for their child’s future—hoping against all things to see it blossom into something beautiful—I see you, and I admire you.

When I see you, I see the love of Father God who bankrupted heaven, who gave everything. I see a God who sacrificed Himself to save His kids. When I see you, I see glimpses of the sacred among us. I see the Image of God. 

When I see you, I see glimpses of the sacred among us. I see the Image of God.

So, to the refugee and immigrant parents in my neighborhood, I see you, and I thank you.

With love,
Your American Neighbor

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