#19 Life in Afghanistan :: BruisedPosted: October 19, 2013
We sit on cushions on the floor around a tablecloth spread out in the middle. Plates, dishes, bowls, bottles, thermos flasks, trays, all laden with food and drink. A feast laid out for all guests who may come, laid out in order to share our celebration of the coming of that baby who became our saviour. Conversations are going on around the room, some deeply involved, some producing laughter, and others simply commenting on the food. I look up as she comes into the room, and walks sedately to the nearest seat. My face lights up, and my heart expands with joy. I am so glad to see her, having been unsure whether she would have permission to come or not. I run over to her.
Meeting her where she stands I kiss her on the cheek several times over and hug her tightly. “I am SO glad you came! Thank you so much for coming! I wanted to see you so much since I have been back.” She turns so her back was to the crowd and I see a tear roll down her cheek. She takes my hands in hers and says to me with disbelief in her eyes “No-one has ever wanted to see me that much. You are my sister. Thank you.” Words fail me, I hug her again. As we part I invite her deeper inside the room to sit at the place of honor.
I pour her tea and offer her cakes, and nuts and fruit, I ask her how her life is, how she is finding being married, if she is happy. She does not look directly at me but answers my questions in the way she should “Life is good, it is good to be married, I am happy, thank you, how are you?, God is kind.” I look at her, really look at her, as she answers me and I see sadness in her eyes and brokenness. We continue talking, all sorts of meaningless topics are covered, I encourage others to join our conversation. We drink tea and eat snacks.
The afternoon moves on and we play games. In a culture where games are seldom played, where the concept of doing something for pure enjoyment is foreign, we spend time playing, spend time ushering joy into their lives. I watch as her sadness slowly melts away, if only for the moments she is with us. I hear all the laughter, the squeals of delight, the excited chatter, a sound and sight so alien from these people, and my own heart is filled with joy. To see them forget about all that is outside that room. To see them feeling comfortable, safe, peaceful, joyful, excited, happy. I am overwhelmed that He has given me the privilege of helping His joy touch their lives, of giving me the opportunity to see this moment, to have this memory.
The afternoon comes to an end. I find that girl, young lady now. There are remnants of happiness written in the lines of her face, there is still a sense of relaxation and peace about her. I hug her and kiss her goodbye. This time the tear is mine. A tear of knowing that as she walks out of the door her face will soon begin to tell a different story again.
She takes my hand and pulls me into a side room. She rolls up her sleeves and lifts up her top just enough for me to see the bruises that riddle her body. She says no words but looks at me. Words fail me also, I look back into her eyes. I wish there was something I could do, but there is not. She speaks “Thank you for today, will you come and see me another day? Please?” I promise nothing but I say I will try. I take her face in my hands and look at her and say all I know to say, “I will pray for you, God is kind.” She thanks me.
I watch as she walks away and do just that. I go before her maker, and her saviour, and ask him to be merciful, to be her saviour, to rescue his creation.
This is part of the 31 Day series