Quick Disclaimer: I lost a ton of formatting on my blog by accident, please bear with me whilst I try and fix it over the next few days!
It’s Five Minute Friday time! If you don’t know what that means, click the button below to learn more.
Today’s topic is….
In two days time I will remember the day she finished her race. Even 10 years on I will remember every detail about that day and the days leading up to it.
She finished her race just a couple of days after the turned 16. Unconscious, she wasn’t aware of her turning another year, and neither was she aware that she was finishing her race.
She had lived like it was a race though, not a race against anyone else, simply a race against herself and a race against time. How much good could she do? How much could she love? How much more could she know God? How much better could she sing? How much more could she be molded into His likeness? She raced and strove to know God the most she could, and to love the most she could. She ran towards those things, knowing they were worth the effort.
Her race was evident to me. Her arms around me spoke of love. Her encouragement to not give up on myself, not give up on God, not give up on school, spoke of wisdom. Her joy and her passion spoke of Christ in her. She showed me what is was to run towards the things that mater. She modeled a good race for me.
She was my best friend, suddenly and shockingly her race came to an end. Crossing the finish line made me aware that one day I would cross my own and I never knew when it was.
Seeing her finish and finish well made me question. How well am I running this race and what am I racing towards?
As I remember, I re-evaluate again, what am I running towards? How well am I racing?
My little heart is breaking, and the only way I can think to fix it is to travel to a dusty war-torn country thousands of miles away to pick up the shattered shards that have fallen there. To stand in amongst those flying bullets, to have the shock of a rocket vibrate through me, to be momentarily deafened by the blast of a bomb. To see the fire and smoke rise on the horizon and in it see a part of my hope and a part of my sanity fade away into nothing. Yet as it rises I also feel in it my resolve strengthen, my weeping intensify, my anger at injustice surge up once more.
With each explosion my heart breaks again for these people who cannot run to an alternate reality. Each bullet hitting the walls of this neighborhood a dagger to my soul for those people who cannot take a break. Whilst my heart is breaking and my soul is aching for those people, those lost and hurting people, those loved and precious people, my mind is busy worrying for the other people. My brothers and sisters, my dear friends, my mind is worrying if they are ok, if they are safe. I wonder if their hearts and minds are guarded and I plead with my father to guard them with peace, for I know the wounds this day will create in their hearts and minds will be far greater and far more difficult to heal than the bleeding lacerations and the missing limbs. I cry out for safety and protection, that there may be no more bloodshed. That this year, the year of 2012 will be free from death; but beyond that and above that I cry, and I plead, and I beg for peace in hearts and minds.
Sleep eludes me this night for though the bullets are far away from my bed, they are ever so close to my heart. Though the rockets exploding are not shaking my house and crumbling my mud walls, they are rocking my soul and they are tearing down my barriers.
My heart is aching causing my eyes to rain, my soul is stirred causing my lips to cry out, and my mind is racing causing my finger to keep clicking refresh. Eyes scanning facebook and twitter feeds, reading news pages, ears listening to reporters. And it’s all happening within me, and I wish I could be standing there with them. I wish I could be laying side by side with those precious friends, I wish I could be holding their hands and living this nightmare with them.
That’s when I know, when my desire to be there is greater than to be safe and watching through a screen, then I know that those missing pieces of my heart have been left there. Those slivers that have left cracks I cannot fill, and left this heart so fragile, are over there. And I wonder, I wonder if traveling those many miles, if breathing in that thick, diseased dust, if stepping over those open sewers, if being back in that hellish-heaven-on-earth, will fix my heart? If I can find those broken shards, could I scoop them back up? could I fit them together again? could I piece this crumbled heap of heart in my hands back together again?
Calm resumes. The fighting has stopped in that city, and so too the battle within me has been subdued. I know I cannot travel to find the splinters of my heart, and I know even if I tried, I would never be able to take them with me, they will always stay there. I know I could never make this crumbled mound of flesh into anything resembling a heart. But I know my saviour, and I know he makes beauty out of ashes, and I know he has the oil of joy which enables my mourning to turn into dancing. So I place the soot in the sky over that city and the ashes on its streets into his hands. I let my ground down heart slip through my fingers out of my grasp into his palms, and I ask him to mix it with his love, and with this oil of joy, I ask him and I vulnerably and frailly trust him to turn these ugly messes into beauty.
5 years ago today Tilman, Ugur,and Necati were killed for what they believed. They stayed faithful through horrific circumstances till the very end.
Their families, wives and children, stood and spoke out love and forgiveness over the killers, and over the nation of Turkey. In the midst of their grief they too spoke of Christ, his love, his grace, and the hope they have in him. I am honored to have met and to have known such people.
5 years on people are still being touched by the faithfulness these men showed, by the love and forgiveness their families pour out; and they are still asking questions and still finding Christ. Does it take the grief away? No. Does it add a sweetness to the bitter pain? Most definitely.
This song was written by a friend shortly after their funeral: