Monday, December 03, 2012

Death and Life

As we sat in the knee-high grass legs itchy, sun scorching, and the sound of worship heard over the wailing I concentrated on the yellow weeds at my feet growing wild and thorny.

I wonder if someone planted them here. 

I've been here before.

Death a part of my existence here in East Africa. No matter how many life-breathed words over cold, clammy bodies, the caskets seem to pile high. Tiny crosses engraved in the black cloth. Aids a raging killer.

But it is different this time. Years ago they would have been alone. Years ago they would have crumpled like a flag to the ground, and laid there without wanting to go on. They would have begged us to bury them beside her.

I first met Mama Matty a few years ago, the mother of one of the beautiful women in our community.

She used to drag her tired body on run-down buses to Juba to sell herself for a couple dollars more.

I remember because we used to pray for her.

On one of our outreaches with our Imani women, we went to pray for the sick, and Mama Matty let us sit on the red-sanded stoop of her home, looking broken.

We prayed and we spoke words of this Jesus who accepts us as we are.

Who never turns His back on us.

Something happened and Heaven touched her. She gave her life to Jesus and she joined a community of believers at the church. She knew her Jesus.

Mama Matty lost her fight on Friday night and there will be no parades, nothing will mark her epitaph but a pile of stones. To some, she will just be another statistic.

But not to us. It's a sad day for those of us who loved her.

But I watch the way our women hold the grieving, like trees standing firm in the wind. 

I hear them singing in the back of the pickup as we drive from the funeral site. I carry the image of their arms encircling the two orphan daughters and leading them through the tall grass towards home.

And I know that Father has done something here. 

He's sown hope where there wasn't any before.

He's made love to grow where there were only thorns. 

He's put His goodness inside of broken hearts. Hearts that can now help heal others.

And the yellow weeds don't look like weeds anymore.

They look like someone's fruit. 

*Please continue to pray for our community in northern Uganda. That our counseling and love will continue to touch many more so they might know Father's goodness in the midst of despair. Please continue to pray for Mama Matty's daughters. 

1 comment:

The Cry of Fire said...

Thank you for writing this.

Thank you for reminding me of what is important.

Praying for you and those around you.