For months – OK, years – I watched the tightly wound rows of two braided throw rugs pull apart. One under the kitchen sink. One by the back door. Each time someone stepped on them, the tears grew longer. And each time I tossed the rugs in the washing machine, I silently swore I’d stitch the rows back together. But I kept putting it off. By now the tears were so large that my favorite rug, shaped like a heart, was unravelling from the inside out, threatening to come apart in two pieces. Finally I could stand it no longer.
I wasn’t going to read the news reports on the murders at the Bangladeshi café. I was scanning the paper last Sunday morning when I saw the headline on the siege at the Dhaka bakery and passed right over it, not wanting to see one more bloody, terrifying image of pure hate. But the horror was so overwhelming, I found myself reading anyway.
On a recent Saturday, I caught a TED Radio Hour talk on NPR with Diana Nyad, the first person to swim 111 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida. For the next quarter-hour, I was spell-bound as Nyad shared her journey of perseverance, overcoming multiple failures, physical challenges, and pain so severe that jellyfish stings caused her body to go into convulsions.
Here is for the courageous ones. For those who say, “yes,” despite the personal cost. For those with the outrageous audacity to love those from whom they have nothing to gain. Here is for the California preacher’s wife, who at the comfortable age of 52, said yes to a dying missionary’s desperate request, “I’m giving you the orphanage.”
Five years ago, this month, my family lost our 7-year-old daughter, Ruth. We had adopted her about six years before from a children’s home in Uganda. Ruth had severe cerebral palsy and was profoundly deaf, but she sure could smile. Despite being unable to walk or talk, Ruth was as bright and funny and as full of joy as any child I have ever met.