Monday, November 8, 2010

Unsung Hero

“Make Me Salt, Make Me Light” the verses of the song twirl through my mind, in the wake of my latest visit to Germany for the Protestant Women of the Chapel's “Worship and Study” Conference, I return exhausted and encouraged, having forged new friendships, learned and grown.

As I spent time with all these military wives, it brought back so many memories of what it was like to be in their shoes. Memories of war and deployment, absent husband, and the harried life they face each day.

While I participated in fun and fellowship, I could not shake a memory from another era in my life. The memory of refugee woman named Eliza whom I met during the Kosovo conflict in 1999 when I was doing refugee relief work in Macedonia.

She was a remarkable woman who fled her homeland with her four children. No husband. No explanation as to where he was or what happened to him. People get lost in war. Her greatest hope and dream had nothing to do with her own security. She wished to build a church in her hometown – not one of spires like the orthodox nor one with domes like the mosques. She wanted true Christianity in Kosovo.

And so she crocheted doilies to raise money to this end. She will always be one of my heroes, an unsung hero. For on the day I left Macedonia, she said she'd pray for me. And that shook me to the core. It is a truly remarkable thing when someone who stands in a place of genuine suffering can care for the needs of others.

The women of this PWOC have something in common with Eliza. For in these tenuous times, it's tough to be a military wife. The level of stress with constant deployments and cross cultural living is almost incomprehensible. And yet they go on each day. Choosing not simply to survive but to look outside their hard places and reach out to minister to the needs of others around them. It is truly remarkable.

They are the unsung heroes of the Iraqi war. And although no medals of valor will ever decorate their chest, they still walk faithfully through whatever God has called them to walk through.

Over the course of this trip I penned this poem. And although it is the story of Eliza, the refugee from Kosovo, it is dedicated to these amazing women of valor around the world who know how to walk faithfully and fruitfully, especially in the dark and hard places.

Unsung Hero

“She walks in beauty like the night,”

Lord Byron penned so long ago

Words on paper brought to life

in a refugee from Kosovo

She walked with masses, wounded, worn

Her four children walked in tow

Absent husband, Doubtful future

Hope deferred in war's harsh glow.

In the twilight, they came stumbling

down a dusty Balkan road

to a mud-walled, one-room dwelling

which would serve as safe abode.

She had nothing. She had a smile

and fingers that danced ov'r silken lace

She sold her wares not for herself

But to build a future, a better place.

In a land where Mosque and Steeple

Clash in cancerous catastrophe

She prayed her death-damaged homeland

Could receive Christianity

She walked in hope through life's bleak valley

She walked with joy, hospitality

She gave her all when she had nothing

Facing fear, fatality

Her children knew too much of landmines

terror, inhumanity

Still she walked in graceful courage

through wartime vanquished sanity

In the wake of devastation

as conflicts fade in evening hue

She packed her children to return

but stopped to say, “I'll pray for you.”

She, a woman with no husband,

She, a homeless refugee,

Looked in the eyes of one so wealthy

And said that she would pray for me!

She walked in beauty that dark night

She walked in faith and certainty

Christ alone was enough for Eliza

Could He alone be enough for me?

And so to those who walk in beauty

through all of life's dark dreadful nights

Unsung hero, unmedaled champion,

Stand strong and tall in Love's true light.


Anonymous said...

Wonderfully honest and insightful. Made me cry.

gigi said...

thanks for sharing, another entry what puts things into perspective:)
I think that's one of your gifts:)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this, it was quite helpful and told a lot.

taniad1992 said...

Thank you for the poem and for your kind words about the PWOC women/military spouses. I had the absolute joy of being a part of PWOC while stationed in Korea. I miss the fellowship but am so thankful for this group of women!