It's her first month in this country and she's the only one fasting from sun-up to sundown for Ramadan. As we talked about her day, she asked why I looked so sad. Surprised by her perceptiveness, I told her a bit of my journey this past year. She murmured her sympathies and asked if I had any children living with me. When I told her of my first grandchild and a daughter's wedding and my youngest son now living on his own, she expressed even deeper sympathy- she is no stranger to loneliness- unmarried, with all her siblings killed in the Iraqi war. Her final response- "Allah... is ...errr...how do you say it?"
"Yes! God is with you"
Thank you, God, for reminding me of your unfailing love and presence in this most surprising way. I hear you.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
27 years ago I was pregnant with my first child and shopping in a corner grocery store that carried many Mexican foods. Makes sense, since I was living in California. The smell of corn tortillas still makes me nauseous... Funny how smells evoke such strong memories!
I was chatting with a man who looks my age, but is over 10 years younger than me. It was his birthday and I asked if he was going to celebrate it in any way (with the inherent desire to help celebrate, if it seemed suitable). He said no, he never celebrates his birthday anymore, because the day his mother died was just before his birthday. Then he proceeded to tell me his story of 10+ years of imprisonment, beatings, torture, being moved around from one prison to another to keep him hidden, and most traumatic of all, not being able to be there when his mother died. I humbly thanked him for entrusting me with his story and acknowledged that he had good reasons for not wanting to remember his birthday.
Another friend shared the coping strategy he has to get through our frequent thunder storms. He cranks his music up as loud as he can to try to drown out the disturbing, unpredictable crashes and booms. What an easy life I've lived.
I want to do something to eradicate their past, but quickly realize that I have only been given the opportunity to impact their now and their future. By the grace of God, I commit myself to prayerfully do just that and let Him bring the healing for their past!