Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Eyes Wide Open

There are four Hispanic men that clean stalls at the establo where my daughters ride. Each time we see them, the greet us cheerfully, whether in the cold, in the rain, or a sunny day. Always, they say "I am fine, how are you?" in a sing-song. Yesterday, one of them (I'm ashamed to say I don't yet know his name) said, "Not so good," when I asked how he was doing.

When I inquired as to why, he put down the shafts of the full wheelbarrow and pointed to his eye. "A horse hit me in the eye with his head. "

I comiserated, having been "head-butted" before, it hurts like the dickens. I asked if it was better. No, it wasn't and he couldn't see so well in that eye.

"Have you seen a doctor?" I asked.
When he said no, I displayed the total lack of awareness of middle class, white Americans by asking why not.
"Oh," says he. "I'm too busy."
Too busy. Still clueless, I cheerfully rejoined, "You'd better get to the doctor. You only get two eyes, you know. It's important."

Later, I reflected. He doesn't have the money to go to the doctor. He's likely an illegal immigrant with no insurance. He might lose the sight in his eye forever.

It may be that talking about illegal immigration in principle is easy. Nameless and faceless, it's easy to say of course, they should apply to come legally. Of course, we should not pay for their medical expenses. Confronted with reality, a young man sees us pull up with two horses we recently bought, knows we live down the road in a nice house, sees horses getting "vetted" (seeing the vet) weekly, and he may be blind in one eye for lack of an office visit.

My own faith teaches that we should care for people, illegal or not, leaving the legalities for others. That's one of the things I love about being Catholic. Today, I'll phone Catholic Charities. Perhaps they have an eye doctor.

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