Lorice is a mother of three and a grandmother of five who was raised in the Beit Sahour area of the Bethlehem district. After her children finished university, they left Palestine for opportunity elsewhere. Her sister also went abroad. While she lives with her husband and aging father in the house her father built for her, she says she often feels alone, and in the future, plans to move to America where one of her daughters and her sister live. “I think if you love something, you love somebody; it’s your home.”
She acknowledges it will be difficult to leave her culture, community, and friends in Palestine, but her love for her family and the reality of aging convinces Lorice she should go. The occupation adds another layer to her decision; many Palestinian Christians say they feel a deep desire to stay as their presence dwindles in their ancestral homeland but consider the opportunities they could have for a better life elsewhere. “I feel sometimes guilty. Really, it’s not fair.”… “I would like to stay at home, and I would like to see not just me, all the women in this land, to have their rights to stay and live, in a good way.”
Lorice has a friendship with a woman her age in the United States. She describes how happy the woman is, her ability to drive freely in a car without restriction, and how every year her family travels to the sea or somewhere on vacation. “We didn’t have it here, and when I tell her about our situation, she was very angry. And she said, ‘yeah, you should be in a good situation.’”
Lorice remembers when her children were younger, during the Second Intifada, and they were only given two hours a day to run errands or be outside. She talks about the impact of the schools being closed, limited work, the enforced curfews, and children and families being exposed to violence. The anger, frustration, and crying she recalls is still palpable, and listeners hear of how Lorice comforted her children with their faith and reminders that Jesus was with them.
She shares how the effects of the occupation wear on her and the community, as there is an underlying fear for the future, the fear of the unknown, and instability. Lorice has had family and friends leave because of the occupation and the stress it causes. She says she is so afraid, and she doesn’t want her grandchildren to go outside without her when they visit Palestine.
This episode explains the illegality of settlements under international law, land confiscation without compensation, and how the different sets of laws and rules for different groups have affected people like Lorice’s family. Her response is one of frustration and powerlessness, but Lorice says that her response is to pray a lot. Through her spiritual convictions, she is able to find internal freedom, stating: “Because I am Christian, I forgive.”
In prayer, we thank God for peaceful followers like Lorice, who displays the example of Christ in her reactions to injustice. We ask for us all to become more aware and convicted of how our behaviors impact others. We pray for the families in Palestine and around the world who look forward to a day of reunification with separated family members. Amen.
Written by a CMEP Volunteer.
CMEP is very thankful for the writers who contribute Spiritual Resources. However, CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the positions of our writers, and they do not speak on CMEP’s behalf.