The last couple of blogs I wrote have an addendum, I guess you would call it. My search for a book to read brought several comments from folks which were fun. Responders mentioned books they were reading. Sharing books is always fun and talking about the books you have read or are reading is a great learning experience. I have seen people grab scraps of paper and begin to jot down titles they've just heard. People interrupt each other as their thoughts begin to trip over one another in their eagerness to tell about their favorite book. No two people will like the same book it seems, but it is such fun to share.
After writing the blog on my search I finally went to my own book shelf and started looking through all the books I haven't read yet. In the process I came across LEFT TO TELL. The author, Immaculee Ilibagiza, is a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda (1994) when the Hutu tribe massacred one million members of the Tutsi tribe in about three months. This woman managed to find someone who would hide her from the extremists. She and six other women hid in a tiny bathroom in the man's house for three months. They could not speak; they could not flush the toilet unless someone else was flushing in the second bathroom. The food they were given was scraps because the man could not betray their presence in the house. When she was finally released she heard the story of the deaths of her parents and two brothers. They were hacked to death with machetes wielded by the killers. These killers were neighbors and friends they had grown up with.
The young woman had a strong faith in God having been raised in the Catholic faith. She devoted hours to prayer when hiding in the little bathroom and through her spirituality developed a trust that could not be shaken. In the months following her release she came to forgive the people who had committed these atrocities. When people wondered how she could do this she said she did it for herself because she had to be able to live to tell the story of what she had experienced.
It was a moving recital and I found myself sitting up late to read another chapter or two. Her story reminded me so much of Elie Wiesel's autobiography NIGHT concerning the Holocaust during World War II. He, like the woman from Rwanda, believed that because he survived, he had a lifelong mission to tell the story of what he had experienced. And it is true, what they both believe. It saddens me that when these massacres were going on, we, as members of the human race, did nothing until it was too late to do anything. We have to hear these stories and remember. After reading LEFT TO TELL, I looked up a little information on the terrible genocide in Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime. Mass graves were found everywhere.
Accounts such as these are terrible reminders that the killing never ends. In the Middle East we see ethnic and religious groups trying to wipe each other out. Their excuses seem paltry. Political and ethnic differences are often the cause of mass murders. But these events can happen any where when people forget we inhabit this earth together and we are all creatures of a loving God.
After writing about the canonization of Mother Teresa I saw a couple of articles from people who were telling stories about her to make her seem unworthy. That happens so often. I want to tell them that like all of us Mother Teresa was a human being. God knows our frailties, that "we are but dust", but God works through us anyway. Perhaps the things the distractors talked about were true, but she still did so much good for the world that she deserves to be remembered.