I actually had a post half written about facing fears and courage and sharks (yes, sharks).
But then I heard something on NPR that absolutely wrecked me. It was a report on how Boko Haram, a blood thirsty militant group in parts of Africa, has started using adolescent girls to carry out suicide bombings.
According to Mausi Segun from Human Rights Watch, this terror would be considered a privilege, a chance at martyrdom. In the minds of these girls and their families, theirs is an “all important, horrible task”.
Could it be?
Could it be a life’s entire purpose to strap on a bomb in order to kill as many people as possible?
From the driver’s seat of my minivan, I felt despair. These girls, not two or three years older than my sweetheart daughter, told that their very purpose in life is destruction. And being told this by their parents?
I’m sick just thinking about it.
I won’t get into the religion behind this. I won’t address the cultural issues. I’m not interested in talking about militants and giving them even an iota of more fame for their sick-minded terror.
I’m talking about girls. Girls who truly believe their full purpose is to destroy, kill, and die in the process.
And that breaks me.
I am of the belief that life is precious. It’s fragile and resilient and hard and beautiful and full of hope. Life is work sometimes. It’s thick with muck and mud. And life is good sometimes. Bubbling with laughter and joy and love.
It’s not to be squandered. Wasted. Tossed aside.
Tossed aside. Oh, please don’t let us be people who toss the lives of others aside. Or our lives.
And please let us see that our purpose is not to destroy. To kill. To terrorize.
Regardless of where we were born or what we believe (because religious extremists don’t have a monopoly on violence or atrocities. That’s all I’ll say about that).
Because in that is no hope, no love, no mercy. No flicker of the image that God build into all of us. His image.
Our purpose is to build. Give life. To love.
When we do that, we can’t help but shine with our Father’s image.
But right now, at this moment, I’m grieving the darkness that straps a bomb on a little girl and sends her into a crowd. I’m grieving that, in her mind, she believes that is her purpose.
And I’m trying with all my might to be a tiny flicker of light in that heavy darkness. My hope is that when we bring our small flames together we can give light that will cut through the dark.
My hope is that our light will point to The One who heals and loves and redeems.
Life is precious. Hold onto that.