Monday, April 28, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I was up all night reading this book by Khaled Hosseini, and finally lingered on the final sentences near sunrise. The two main characters, Mariam and Laila, are women in Afghanistan and the story weaves its way from the late 60s all the way to present day. For some it may be difficult to imagine that the atrocities found within its pages actually occur. Though relatively speaking I have seen very little of the world, I have seen enough to know that they do. The book is riddled with realities of war, death, child brides, abuse, starvation, oppression and even execution, but enduring themes are ones of hope, friendship, and love. I connected deeply with these women in their longing to live on, though living at times seemed unbearable. I felt a strange and persistent desire to enter into their world and share the heaviness of their load. I found myself asking God to take me to women like these and felt a renewed excitement for becoming a midwife. After closing the book I sat and watched the moon, a half moon today, slowly fade. Then darkness began to break into color, and day arrived. Still unable to sleep I lit candles and turned on my favorite sermon, one given by Donald Miller last fall titled 'Story'. I listened to it while washing dishes and folding clothes and asked God again to take my smallness and do something that brings Him great glory. I stopped cleaning and stared for a while out my bedroom curtains at the sunshine... thought with excitement about Josh and Rachel coming home today from their honeymoon... beginning life together. I wondered if they feel a sense of stability, knowing that they have each other. Wandering outside, I tried to choke down the fear of what is ahead and unknown... fears of failure, inadequacy, and perpetual loneliness. I tried to let all of the dreams that stir within me to live crazy and really trust God and really follow Him cover over the genuine terror I feel that makes me want to ask God to use someone else. But then I think that this one story is all I have and I want it to count for something. Often I feel in a very matter-of-fact way that I will die for my faith in Jesus and I think, God, prepare me for whatever is YOUR will. This was so much more than just a book to me. Graphic in every detail, it was a beckoning to follow God with reckless abandon. He can take me places I would never have dreamed, and that reminder is well worth a sleepless night.

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