One of my daughters has practiced the art of painting for a number of years. The most recent series of paintings have been quite dark, and when she asked me if I liked a particular painting, I said, frankly no, it was so dark and depressing. She said, “Well, you’ve always had a hard time facing the dark things in life.” She’s right. And as we talked, the subject of James Foley came up. He is the journalist who was so gruesomely murdered by the ISIS. My daughter was surprised that I had been following the news and was fully familiar with what had happened.
In fact, as we prepare to leave on a mission trip to Cambodia (see earlier posts), I have become much more aware of the dark side. As I’ve studied Cambodia’s history and have begun to learn of its grim past, I have had no choice but to take the blinders off and pay more attention to the world. If I’m going to travel to the other side of the world, to one of the darkest places there, and try to do some good, then I need to “be smart about it”, and know what I’m getting into and who I’m dealing with.
And so, we sat and talked about James Foley. I asked the question, “How did this young man face this terror? How does anyone, for that matter, face such evil?”
My daughter said, “Mom, they do it knowing that they are loved. James Foley knew that he was loved unconditionally by two great parents back home, and surrounded in that love, he was able to face that evil.”
As I become more aware of the horrific things that go on in this world; of people so filled with hate, and the unimaginable crimes they commit, I can’t help but feel a bit weak in the knees. But I am reminded, thank God, that for every one of those lost souls, there is a person filled with love, ready to put their fears aside, and do what they can to help others.
My daughter reminded me that not all art is ‘about the decoration’. It’s about making people aware. It’s about helping people to remember. And so, I remember James Foley and his family today. With my deepest condolences and prayers for healing.
I will also pray for the little girls that we will meet and work with in Cambodia. Many of them, sold into slavery by their own parents, have faced horrors we cannot fathom and have done so, void of love.