[September 14, 2016]
I saw two photos recently that I found arresting.
Dr. Denis Mukwege is a doctor in Congo, where there is an epidemic of, a craze for, rape. All ages, all across the culture, there is a war of males against females. Dr. Mukwege tries to repair the damage done to little girls. Think twice before reading the article, because it’s heartbreaking.
But look at this face! It is a novel. You could go on and on reading it. Deep sorrow and deep knowledge of the evil people can do, even to children. I feel, looking at it, that I am seeing how Jesus looked when he saw Mary and Martha and their friends weeping over Lazarus. He was deeply angered and troubled, seeing all the malice and evil of Death, and the pain felt by those left behind throughout history. Jesus could raise Lazarus, but all that evil still had happened; it could not be erased.
You see in this doctor’s face both the hideous nature of what he’s seen, and his strong heart and profound compassion. He has so much compassion that he goes right back in every day, doing what he can to help suffering girls, even though it tears him apart.
Then this photo, which is in a way the opposite:
These are the parents of a 10 year old boy abducted and murdered in 1989. They have been in the news because the murderer finally confessed and led police to his body.
What’s so arresting here is that the faces are alike. Over years, through all the pain, these two looked into each others’ faces so habitually that they came to think alike, feel alike, be alike. They are united. They are mirrors.
After the death of a child, 80% of marriages fail. But these two were winners. They figured out how to love and carry each other. And notice this: there is a very faint smile. They won. They were attacked y the greatest evil parents can go through, but they loved each other so strongly that it carried them over the finish line.