The Gift of a Stranger
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, in the world today we are becoming more and more a depressed community. The Dominican theologian Albert Nolan speaks of our times as the ‘age of despair’. We look everywhere for people, things and experiences that might help us overcome this sense of hopelessness, but to no avail. Yet, a place to which most people have not yet turned is the lives of the forcibly displaced; while, for those of us who have had the privilege to be invited into their lives, this is in fact an obvious place to look. I would like to argue that the best response we can offer to the hope that forcibly displaced people have in us – as developed nations of ‘the North’ and sought-after places of asylum – is the gift of hospitality and solidarity, and that, through this welcome, forcibly displaced people offer us a great gift in return: the discovery and increase of our own hope, through their spirituality of hope.