Archived Opinion

A once happy week now darkened

A once happy week now darkened

We leave for Disney World this weekend. 

I should be more excited, but with all that’s going on in our country, I’m feeling a bit uneasy about life. It’s hard to get giddy about something as seemingly trivial as Mickey Mouse when refugee children have nowhere to go and our country is imposing travel bans.

I’ve written about my faith before in this column, and it seems relevant here. Not having grown up in a church, my faith is deep, personal and hard-earned. It’s something I’ve fought for and something I protect. There have been very dark days in my life, and God singularly pulled me out of the mire. 

When things happen I don’t agree with or make me uncomfortable, I rely on God’s whispers and my own intuition for guidance. Neither God’s whispers or my intuition are telling me that what’s going on in our country is OK, just or fair. 

In fact, wasn’t Jesus the one who ignored the strict laws imposed by the Pharisees in lieu of compassionate servitude and doing what felt right in his heart? 

I’m not going to make this a religious column, but including my viewpoint from this angle is important. I’m seeing posts on social media and hearing conversations in the grocery store alluding to the fact our country is doing what’s right by God. I couldn’t keep quiet and pretend to concur when in fact, I vehemently disagree. 

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Every being on this earth is vastly flawed, broken, lost. We find ways to be happy, feel hopeful, and move forward, but we still struggle. So why, as a country, pretend like we’re not? And why, oh why, turn away those who are fully broken and lost on every level? 

A dear friend of mine, Hobey Ford, is a renowned puppet maker and puppeteer. I wrote an article about him for Smoky Mountain Living magazine a while back. He travels to war-torn countries and performs shows for refugee children. He told me some of the children he’s met have no idea where their parents and siblings are or if they’ll ever see them again. 

But when these little eyes watch the puppets come alive, they alight with excitement and awe. Just like American children. I’m truly brokenhearted that we’re refusing to help innocent refugees, and I can only hope and pray that something will change. 

I can also speak up and let it be known that I don’t agree with these actions, and I certainly don’t condone comments insinuating they are Godly acts. 

In my mind, I have this vision of the American shape (like on a puzzle or map) outlined in flames, barring anyone from getting in. Within the shape, people sit in their big houses, behind their smartphones or laptops, or in the Oval Office oblivious to those outside the shape, crying, starving, pleading. I see them on their knees begging for help from the one and only America, the country that was once the beacon of light for all immigrants.

But as always, there’s hope. And hope is so very powerful. 

Our country is invigorated like never before. There’s a pulse beating through the nation, and while some may feel these recent laws and regulations are helpful, just as many, if not more, feel the opposite. 

There are a number of ways to douse this proverbial ring of fire. Speak with your heart, write with your heart, play music with your heart, paint with your heart, create with your heart, love with your heart. Whatever your talent, skill or strength, do it with your heart. 

Do you have a heart? Then please use it because the only thing stronger than hate is love. 

So yes, my family leaves for Disney World in several days, and I’m excited for my two little boys who have never been there. I’ve been planning the trip for six months and want to see all that hard work come to fruition. 

But I can’t pretend my mind’s not on the millions of children who’ve only heard of Mickey Mouse from worn, second-hand books cast aside by wealthier countries. Further, I’m sure their last concerns are amusement park rides or wearing Magic Bands. They just want to see Mommy or Daddy and to know any emotion other than fear.  

I try to keep these columns light and talk about the good in my life, in my community, and in our world. But on days like this where I’m struggling to see a lot of good, I can’t falsely write or cheerily talk about a trip to Disney World. 

As the brilliant Albert Einstein said, “Hail to the man who went through life always helping others, knowing no fear, and to whom aggressiveness and resentment are alien. Such is the stuff of which the great moral leaders are made.”

Amen, sir. 

(Susanna Barbee can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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