near Bethlehem - August 2004
photo by Linda McCloud+
It has been almost three years since I was in Israel, but something has always haunted me about that trip. It is the smile on this little girl's face. She was born in the Deheishe Refugee Camp for Palestinians near Bethlehem, which the United Nations established in the West Bank almost sixty years ago.
When my study group visited Deheishe, we were told that houses get bombed out on a fairly regular basis. We were also told that the house behind the girl in this picture was her house that got bombed out the night before. Her smile provides a bizarre contrast to the background, especially since we were told that Deheishe had contributed thirty-five "martyrs" to the Palestinian cause.
I have considered two possibilities: 1) this little girl had a heart full of hope for the future; and 2) her life was so full of upheaval that a chance to get her picture taken was a joyous occasion. The answer is probably a combination of the two, but I would like to think that we come into the world and take our first breath in the hope of having a full life.
With these positive thoughts in mind, I offer a portion of Psalm 108 for meditation today:
My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed;
I will sing and make melody.
Wake up, my spirit;
awake, lute and harp;
I myself will waken the dawn.
I will confess you among the peoples, O Lord;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your loving-kindness is greater than the heavens,
and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God,
and your glory over all the earth.
So that those who are dear to you may be delivered,
save with your right hand and answer me.
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek