Lost? Here You Go. You Can Thank Me Later.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Birdsong in the Ghetto

We had a close call this past month, one that saw Miriam in the ICU at Children's Hospital for three weeks on a respirator and medical-induced coma. It was a very close call.

More on that later.

I'll be honest and say I have debated sharing this. If Facebook has taught us anything (and it hasn't), it's that sometimes sharing personal moments on social media can be...well, cliché. It's hard to tell if people are looking for validation which, on its own, is fine. Yet I wonder if sometimes we use the public forum to turn our tragedies into something more noble than they deserve.


A perfect place for the next Jason Bourne movie.
Many years ago, I was serving as a missionary in Marseilles, France for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

One afternoon we passed through a dense ghetto near the harbor. Tenement buildings, some hundreds of years old, crowded until the sky was just thin strips of blue. Trash lay everywhere and, in the heat of the day, the air stank of old fish and sewage. The style was noticeably Arabic, a street more appropriate for Cairo than Paris, and here the mood toward Americans was tenuous at best.

Ugly. That place was dang ugly.

In that moment, however, I recall hearing birds––countless birds. Above, swallows nested in hollows where old stone had crumbled away. They had built an entire colony along the red-tiled roofs. The sound was lovely, echoing through that spot as it had for over 300 years.

It sounds like a badly-written poem, but it was true: in that moment, that place was infinitely beautiful. I had to stop and look with different eyes and see things clearly visible yet unnoticed.

Being a father of a child with severe disabilities is a mixed bag. There are equal measures of guilt and uncertainty and anger. There is also a nobility to the work. I would be remiss if I did not notice––and call attention to––those hidden blessings that are so hidden they stare at me in the face every day.

So over the course of this coming week, I plan to share insights we learned the three-week experience at Children's Hospital.

I hope it comes across as less "Woe is us" and more "Whoa, look at this!" Until then, to quote The Beverly Hillbillies:

"Ya'll Come Back Now, Ya Hear?" 

No comments:

Post a Comment