Lived Through This

A Heart Like Fields of Gold

Jonah Lynch
Human Parts


Photo by Yuriy Bogdanov on Unsplash

Three Ukrainians sat around my table last Friday: a grandmother, a mother, and a two-year old child. We were celebrating.

The little group of refugees had travelled across Ukraine from Zaporizhzhya, where a huge nuclear power plant was the location of some heavy fighting in the early days of the ongoing conflict. The three left in haste on packed standing-room-only trains and reached Poland after a few days’ journey. In Krakow, volunteers gave them food and shelter, and helped them organize their next move. Apparently, a sister-in-law’s-cousin’s-friend in a town near Milan was willing to help them, so Italy became their destination. At my church, a friend of a friend asked if I could put them up for a week while they got settled, and I gladly agreed. I have sometimes felt like a refugee, and owe a great deal to the people who helped me in my times of need. I am always happy to be in a position to pay it forward. On Monday night, their plane landed and the exhausted little crew moved into my apartment.

On Friday, courtesy of the church, the family found an apartment where they could have their own space and begin their life anew. So I opened a bottle of Italian wine to toast their new beginning, and we sat down to a salmon dinner. Communication was difficult, since their knowledge of Italian begins and ends with…