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This week I was offered an opportunity to join others in writing my own letter of love to a refugee I know nothing of, other than they are stuck in impossible to imagine circumstances in a detention centre in Australia.
At first I jumped at the chance to send a heartfelt note to a person seeking refuge in this country.
But then the pullback came.
What do I write to someone in that situation?
What if I end up upsetting them?
What’s the point? The letters will probably never get passed on to the people there anyway…
Suddenly all my mind could focus on was everything that could go wrong, trying to convince me of why a letter to such a person could do more harm than good.
The head chatter was doing its best to stop me having to feel my vulnerability and discomfort about these things.
But when I sat into the stillness of my heart, the answer was simple.
I love to write from the heart and connect. And I deeply care about the situation my fellow brothers and sisters are in.
Yes, the letter may be blocked at its destination, and not delivered.
But I, at least, would know I had written it, would know the promise I made in it and that I will keep every day.
Yes, my note may upset them – and it might not.
But at least they would know my love and that I was willing to risk my worries being true, yet reach out and connect anyway.
Yes, I may not know the right things to say.
But the heart is not self-conscious, it is an honest place and that is all that matters.
And so I selected some special paper with owls on it, sat under my favourite paperbark tree, and wrote out what came through my pen.
Dear brother or sister who has come to Australia seeking refuge,
My name is Caroline and I am 44 years old. I am sorry that I don’t know your name.
In fact I am sad that I do not know anything about your life. And I am hugely sorry for your pain and struggles.
I know it might feel like we are strangers.
But I believe we have something in common, one thing that connects you and me and it is this: we both have a beautiful heart deep inside us. We both love. And we both care deeply about things. We both want a better world. We both want to be happy and feel safe not scared.
And so that’s why I write to you from my heart – because that is where we can at least connect for the time being. In the heart, we are no longer strangers I hope.
I pray you can have your freedom here in this country – and soon.
I wish I could invite you to my house where we could cook our favourite food together, share stories and hugs, and learn things from each other.
Many Australians feel this way.
Let me tell you a little bit about the part of Australia in which I live. It is called The Central Coast, and is about 90minutes away from Sydney. My house is near the beaches and ocean, and there are forests too, and huge towering rocks going up into the hills.
One of my favourite things to do is to go for walks and take magical photos of the things I experience.
In times of struggle and in times of happiness, I sit and watch the clouds, the sunrise and the moonrise, and the stars. I am soothed by the feeling of the wind on my face and by listening to it too. My favourite sound in the whole wide world is from a special owl that visits close by at night. Whenever I hear it call, I feel calm. And if sometimes it doesn’t come, I imagine its sound and feel calm.
Now that I have written this letter to you, I promise to do something else.
Every day, I will sit under my favourite tree by the water, put my hand over my heart, and send you good thoughts and love.
Every day, I will do this for you – you, the person I wrote a letter to, the brother or sister who has a heart just like me.
I will send my love to you each day like this so you will know you are not alone. So you will know that someone in Australia cares very deeply about you.
I hope to write to you again.