Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Journey to the Promised Land

I, too, know what it means to be a stranger in a strange land...

I know what it means to come to a place where the promise of a better life stands like a shining city on a hill. I know what it means to have the people of this great place willing to take everything you’ve got and then throw you out on your ear when they don’t need you anymore...

To begin my story, I will tell you that I once lived a happy, simple life. For my family and I, we didn’t need much and found joy in the little things. But then, one day, I happened to be watching a neighbor’s television and I glimpsed it – the Promised Land. I had heard about this place, but thought it was only a fantasy. How could some place so beautiful - filled with so much wealth - be real?...

At first I couldn’t believe what I was looking at: opulence; food and drink everywhere; people seemingly making money and supporting their loved ones like I wish I could my family. Was I jealous? Was I coveting these people’s success and lifestyle? No, I just wanted a piece of that dream, too. I knew that if I could make my way to that sun-filled land, I also would be able to become wildly successful...

So one day, I packed my bag and headed out. “Be careful,” my wife shouted after me. “You have heard the many stories of those who have tried and failed. Those who did not make it were sent packing. Others were like property - traded and sold!” I told her, “Wife, do not fear for me. For many years, people have gone there, worked hard and built a new life for their loved ones. How can I not try and do the same?” And with that, I set out across the border…across the Great Desert...

It was a journey without compare. Along the way, I would meet others who would ask me where I was going. “There,” I would say, pointing to a place over the horizon. “I am going to Arizona. To the city they call Phoenix"...

“Why there…of all places?” they would reply. “Do you not know you are heading to unfriendly territory? Do you not know that your kind is not welcome? Surely, they will see you have no standing and kick you out"...

But I trudge on, knowing that hard work and experience were on my side...


The Promised Land...

I finally came to the last fence on my journey. Just beyond it, was the Promised Land...

It beckoned. How could I not go there? So I did what anyone in my situation would – I climbed it. As simple as that, I was in the New World. But just as quickly as I was inside the fence line, a truck filled with guards descended on me. Immediately, they got out of the truck and surrounded me. They demanded to see my identification (which did not meet their requirements, by the way!) and asked me my purpose...

I pointed to my destination: “I’m going there, I said. I’m going to find work there. I’m going to give my family a better life.” They would have none of it. They walked me back to the fence and told me to go home. We stared at each other across the boundary for what seemed like hours and then I turned and walked away.

But I came back later that night, hoping to scale the fence under cover of darkness. I made it over and began crossing the barren stretch but, suddenly, the area was illuminated by spotlights....

“Hold it right there,” a voice said blaring over a loudspeaker. “Hands up." I complied and within a few seconds, I was handcuffed by authorities and taken in for questioning. After learning why I had come to this place, they warned me not to do it again and released me after I had promised to go home and not again cross the line...

But the allure of fast, big money was too much. I made my way back...

This time when I had again reached the fence area, there were hundreds – no, thousands – of others streaming inside. Someone had found an opening and there were no guards or authorities there to stop us (there were too many, anyway). I asked one of my fellow trespassers, “Why all the extra people today? Why all of the excitement?”...

“Are you kidding me?” he answered, “Besides the obvious, it’s Cinco de Mayo!” He was then swallowed-up by the mob, which was cheering and chanting...

When the rabble made it to the first large building, I noticed that people were standing in long lines and many were holding some sort of documents which they would show to get in. I didn’t have any, so I decided to sneak in. Once inside, it was everything I had seen – and imagined. This was the place – the palace – I’d seen on TV. Then I looked out into the expanse before me – an opening I would fill with my realized dreams...

So with wild abandon, I ran out to the middle...

I am here! I am here! I am ready!” I shouted but my words were drowned-out by the crowd’s loudness...

Put me in! Put me in! I can play!” I yelled...

Suddenly, I was tackled by a group of police who pinned me to the ground, cuffed my arms and legs and hauled me off to a back room.I kept shouting: “I can play! The Phoenix Suns need me!”...

"I am ready to play for the Los Suns!”


Don't fence me out...

Later, during my interrogation, a police official wanted to know what I thought I was doing out there on the court...

“I came to play,” I told him. “The Suns – sorry, the Los Suns – have welcomed all. I figured I was included. Besides, having me on the team would speak volumes when it comes to diversity.”

The authorities didn’t know what to do with me. So they packed me up and shipped me back home. When I arrived on my doorstep, my wife greeted me with an “I told you so” look and scooted me in the house. Once inside she asked, “What did you learn from all this?”


Vamos Soles!

I learned that those Los Suns are bigots. Just because I’m only 6 feet-tall and couldn’t jump over a sidewalk crack to save my mom’s back is no reason to keep me from an opportunity to make a better life for my family,” I told her...

So what will you do next?” she asked...

I saw a hockey game on TV the other day,” I said. “I keep hearing those Canadians telling us we should be more tolerant. I’m sure they’d welcome me on to one of their teams.”

But you can’t even skate,” my wife said...

What are you, a skatist?!?!"

1 comment:

webwings said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.