Ellis Island

By

One day I will take the boat to Ellis Island.
I will walk the pier and enter the station.
I will see the stacks of abandoned steamer trunks,
the rejection papers under glass,
the black and white photos of the mustachioed men
in their bowler hats, and the women with their parasols.

I will study their eyes,
looking for hints of their hope,
their fear, and their desperation.
I will try to imagine them standing on that same floor,
not browsing a museum,
but looking for a new world.

I will climb the Separation Stairs
and I will consider Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats.
I will think about what it means
to be a citizen of a Kingdom
I must leave everything to enter.
And then I will understand
that I, too, am an immigrant.

Russ Ramsey is the pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church Cool Springs in Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and four children. He grew up in the fields of Indiana and studied at Taylor University and Covenant Theological Seminary (MDiv, ThM). Russ is the author of the Retelling the Story Series (IVP, 2018) and Struck: One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death (IVP, 2017).


6 Comments

  1. anna

    I just had a C S Lewis moment – “You too?”

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about being homesick for a place I’ve never been.

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