On Thursdays, we’ll be stepping back to remember and learn from old memories. Here’s a blog from our founder – originally posted on May 7, 2012 – http://theheartofexile.blogspot.com/2012/05/beautiful-scars.html
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What does a breaking heart sound like? And what does it actually feel like for a tear to be shed? And if Jesus is closest to us when we are in the center of our deepest pain, then why doesn’t He save us from it? If He is right there? Because He is. Right there. Right beside of us.
“I am going to tell you the most important part of your handkerchief drawing now. The most important part is drawing God in the middle of your heartache. Drawing Him beside of you when you were crying your sad tears. Even if you didn’t feel Him – He was there.”
I look into their eyes and I wonder what they have seen. I watch the markers in their hands, and I know if their hands could tell stories they would be of bloodshed.
If their scars could speak they would scream.
But they don’t scream at all. They stand. Boldly. As if to say…. I am here. As much a part of my world as your comfort is to yours. I see these young men now, and I can’t fathom it. What they have been through. but I must. I must do more than fathon it. I must know it to be true.
Before my eyes, I see dancing and rejoicing. Before my eyes, I see life and redemption. They beat their drums and they clap their hands. Watching boys who were once child soldiers praying fervently and washing softly the feet of their brothers who have recently escaped the militia. This ceremony of peace is beautiful. And they don’t even know each other. Asking their names before they wash each others feet. Each one. But they don’t have to know each other. They are already brothers. The bond of Life that is connecting them now is much stronger than the Killing they have done. The Peace surrounding them today is bigger than the War they have lived through.
I see them wash each others feet. I can feel their prayers for each other. I hear the songs of reconciliation. I touch the new found love of God and dreams to be future peacemakers – and I am in awe of them. If the world could watch this…..
What could we learn?
My mind goes back to our time with the girls. Girls as young as three who have been raped.
“When God looks at you He does not see what you have done. He does not see what has been done to you. He only sees what you can be. What you will be. He sees you as beautiful”
I watch her as I say these words outloud. She is 13. She was abducted when she was around 11. She was raped by militia soldiers. She became pregnant and months later she escaped with her baby. The baby she now holds as I watch her lift her shirt to breast feed. But she has no milk. It has dried up long ago. She doesn’t offer herself to the child for food. She offers herself to her baby for comfort. It’s the only way she knows to sooth the baby from crying because no one has taught her otherwise.
She escaped with her baby at the age of 12, and she walked for two days trying to find her home. She never found it. She was picked up in Goma and taken to the center. Where she still lives. With her baby. Her only family now. I catch her eye, and she smiles at me. A million dollar beaming smile. She looks down at her baby and the love on her face is the love of Jesus. A mother of 13 in love with her baby girl.
And my heart breaks. Silently.
And my spirit swells. Loudly.
Because I am witnessing a miracle. I am witnessing pure love.
I often stand before these children…. these young men and young women feeling like a tiny child who needs to be taught rather than to teach. One who needs to be mended rather than to mend.
How does one find sense in it all? By this: Realizing there is good and evil. Light and darkness. Suffering as small as pebbles or as large as erupting volcanos.
But the Richness comes in the Reflection of Pain:
“…suffering arises from the simple circumstance of life itself. Sometimes human suffering is dramatic and horrifying. More often it is ordinary, humble, and quiet. But neither way is it “God’s Will”. The Divine doesn’t intend for us to suffer, but is instead with us in all the experiences of life – in both Suffering and Joy. And that presence is always inviting us toward greater Freedom and Love.” ~ Gerald May, The Dark Night of the Soul