Sunday, August 26, 2012

No More Lullabies

Thanks to a wonderful friend, my first trip to Guatemala was an insightful experience.  She helped us to truly understand the painful choices that many people make each day and the disparity between the "Haves" and the "Have-Nots."  I was prepared for the government orphanage, the ghetto, and the dump.  I knew what to expect.  Still, towards the end of our walk through the National Cemetery I was overcome once again.

The National Cemetery is full of beautiful crypts, hours could be spent walking through just to admire the detail of their stained-glass and carvings.  Beyond the splendor of those elaborate crypts stands towering rows of mausoleums.  The poor bury their friends and families in the mausoleums, hundreds in each building.  Even in death they are not at peace.  The families pay a rental fee for each space.  If they are unable to make their payment, the space is marked and eventually emptied.  All contents are thrown over the edge, into the dump below. 

I knew about the rental fees.  I knew about the tomb cleanings.  I had even seen the piles of decorations and broken tomb markers during my last visit.  What I wasn't ready for was what I saw this time--caskets that had been emptied and thrown down, bones that had been missed in one tomb, just left there without a second thought. 

The worst of all was this child's casket.  The grief of losing a child is unimaginable to me.  Not only has this family lost a small child, they have endured the grief of laying that child to rest, and now they have struggled and been unable to pay the rental fee, knowing the consequences.  A beautiful child was disregarded in the most demeaning and heartless way. 

How cruel must a place be when not even the dead are at peace?  How haunted must those workers be who must carry out that dark task?  What goes through the mind of those who work in the dump when the the tombs are cleaned, again? 

My greatest hope is that someone can meet all those affected by that world and give them just one piece of hope, one bit of insight into God's love and Jesus' gift of salvation so that they also may be saved.  Even a criminal, hanging on a cross can be saved, no matter the sin because he needed only to believe that Jesus was the savior, sent to redeem us all from our sinful lives.  Everyone who believes--that child who's body was discarded, the worker who emptied the tomb, me as I stared at the casket and wondered "why." We all have the opportunity to be at peace with Jesus, those who have believed before, and that wise criminal who was brave enough to proclaim Christ while hanging on a cross.

Luke 23:43 "Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

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