I decided to try something different for my blog in November. For 11 days, I’ll post stories from the war that didn’t make it into the recently published Coffee & Orange Blossoms: 7 Years & 15 Days in Tyre, Lebanon.
While recovering from our evacuation experience in July 2006, I wrote a debriefing journal, while memories were still fresh. I predicted that the stress of that time in our lives would erase details that could be helpful to remember later.
I almost incorporated this added information into the email pages of the book, but decided that realism would be ruined and the urgent feeling of their brevity would be lost.
Now I offer you these details as an added-value bonus to supplement the rather sparse treatment found in the book.
19 July 2006
The Convent in Lebanon
This was the morning that we attempted to have a worship and prayer time. We hadn’t really done much of either up to that point and it was still difficult. I remember feeling guilty about that. Hadn’t Dietrich Bonheoffer faced death as a Nazi prisoner with prayer, scripture reading and worship? Why wasn’t I able to go to God at this time when I needed him most? Didn’t I believe that I would find comfort there?
Our friend Hassan had arrived the day before from Tyre. He stayed at the convent and we paid for his room. He kept running down to the French embassy to inquire about getting permission to travel even though he didn’t have a valid passport. He was also very concerned about his parents still trapped in their plantation just south of Tyre, next to where the natural gas plant had been destroyed.
Gideon cried while we waited for one of the meals, so I took him into the convent’s chapel. It was beautifully ornamented with stained glass and mosaic‐like tiles over the whole inside. It was here that I found my voice for worship and sang Taize’ songs. The Greek version of Yes, I Believe, I Agree, It Is So came to mind. Mark Gravrock had taught it to us in Greek classes at LBI so many years ago. Gideon was comforted, and one of the sisters came in and sat in the back pew to listen. It was a holy moment between God and me – a moment of gratitude for saving my precious ones from mortal danger.