I write stories of hope, and watch for them, because if I didn’t, it would be too much. It would be too much for my heart to see the brokenness, the despair, the poverty. For as many times as my heart sings in this city, it breaks as many times, too.
It breaks when I see the young man, no more than fifteen years old, crawling down the filthy street on arms that don’t seem like they could possibly support him, legs so skinny that, even if he could stand, couldn’t possibly hold him up.
It breaks when the old woman comes and asks for money, miming that she just wants to eat; when I see the old man curled up under the thin blanket, sleeping on the hard patch of sidewalk that is his only home.
It breaks when I see young children on the street, begging or selling small packets of tissues instead of sitting at desks or playing with friends.
It breaks when I hear stories of men, both refugee and Egyptian, who can’t find work, no matter how much skill or education they have.
It breaks when I hear stories of women separated from their children, far from their homeland that was lush and green. Where cows grazed and crops were raised and fish came from the river to feed their families.
It breaks when I hear stories of clashes around the city and wonder what this means for the people I have already come to love so much.
I write stories of hope because if I did not, the stories of brokenness would simply break me, break my spirit, shake my faith. I cling to the promise that this is not God’s vision for the world–to promises like the one in this weekend’s reading from Habakkuk “For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie.” I turn again to the Prophets who both challenge broken systems and speak words of hope. I turn again to Jesus who promises to bring new life amidst the stench of death.
I listen; I pray; I wait; I watch. I hope.