Collateral Damage – A Lost Son

I’ve tried to write a post all evening.  I want to write something that will comfort, or inspire.  But all I can do is feel tired and sad since I, like many of you, watched in disbelief as Mubarak made his speech to millions of Egyptians on state television. I flipped through a Faith & Culture devotional thinking I could find a thought or idea, but nothing came.  I read a summary of “Paradise Lost” and while it helped my soul a bit (Good, evil,* “the breaking of all natural harmony, and the tragic flaw that underlies human history”)it gave no words to my heart . As I tuned in for a last listen to the news before going to sleep, the story came, absent of comfort but capturing the personal cost of recent events.

I heard the story of a 15-year-old shot on the 28th of January, a Friday.  His name was Ahmed and he was praying at a mosque at Tahrir Square when police entered, fired tear gas and real, not rubber, bullets. The bullet went to his chest so my guess would be an immediate death.  The story becomes harder as his father goes searching for him.

He spent 12 days looking for his child, his son, in every police station and every hospital he could find.  He found him on Wednesday night and yesterday was the funeral.  He was not the only one killed that day – at least 200 other people were killed and many are still unaccounted for.  (story from AlJazeera live stream broadcast from Doha, 2.10.11)

AlJazeera interviewed his dad and his poignant story of finding his son, washing him for burial as per Muslim tradition, and burying him “with his own hands.”  His mom, crazy with grief, said that Ahmed had wanted a motorcycle.

I have a 15-year-old son.  His name is Jonathan and he is a gifted musician whose head is 90% in instruments and composition and 10% in reality.  He is an amazing fun kid who at this point in his (and my) life, is driving me a bit crazy. Until of course I think of Ahmed’s mom and how much she would give to have her kid drive her crazy, just one more time.

If your friend is sick and dying, the most important thing he wants is not an explanation; he wants you to sit with him. He is terrified of being alone more than anything else. So God has not left us alone. And for that, I love him” (from interview of Lee Strobel with Peter Kreeft, Boston College)

*Gene Edward Veith-Faith & Culture