The Relentless Waves…

On Monday morning we were admiring the white seamless beaches of Togo, breathing in the sounds and sights of the Atlantic waves teeming with energy. Thirty hours later we were picked up by MCC Manager, Matthew and as we drive back to Jos from the airport he was on the phone with his niece who was beside herself with anxiety over the uncertain fate of her police husband posted to Bama, Bornu State. The next morning we woke up to newspaper headlines which screamed, “55 die as Boko Haram hits troops, prisons, barracks.” We learn later that the husband of Matthew’s niece was one of the victims.

We traveled to Lomé, Togo, for MCC leadership meetings last week. We took the opportunity to spend the weekend at Coco Beach Hotel. The best parts of Coco Beach were the waves. An old road 100m out into the Atlantic Ocean served as an initial break to the 3-5m waves, creating foam laden spray unmatched by today’s modern fountains. After breaking against the road, the waves continued to wash up on the pristine sandy shore giving us an extra energetic display of power and beauty.Image

We did go in to the water but quickly found that we were no match for the power of the waves as we were thrown around like rag dolls, mixing our bodies with the foam and the sandy beach. As much as we tried to control our bodies and tame the waves, they kept reminding us that they are not to be tamed; the remains of the road we found on the beach attested to their relentless power.Image

What does it mean to work for peace in a place where the rule of law exists but impunity can be “purchased” with money, threat or indifference; where life is precious to some but has little value to others; where shalom seems to be as elusive as a leisurely swim on the shore of the Atlantic?

Yesterday morning, as we were preparing to fly to Jos, Matthew’s niece had just boarded a bus to travel to Bama to visit her husband. She called him to let him know that she was about to leave. He warned her that it was not safe to come. “Can you hear the gunshots in the background?” were among his last words to her.

We wonder if these incredible waves of violence will end…

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6 Responses to The Relentless Waves…

  1. Elaine Sherk says:

    So sorry!

  2. Rose says:

    Here we struggle with solitary deaths – the loss of one loved one is enough to send a whole community spinning. It is so far outside of our experience to imagine “bodies pouring in” – such overwhelming death and destruction. As I attempt to face this suffering, from this great distance, with my eyes and heart open, and as I consider how you might respond to such overwhelming situations, I am reminded that >being with< those who suffer is one of our highest callings. When we feel powerless in the face of suffering, like a body in the waves, to be-with, to suffer-with is a powerful stance to take. Perhaps Jesus' power came not from his divinity and his power to crush the enemy, but rather from his powerlessness and his willingness to suffer with us. There is an irresistible power there as well.

    Surely goodness and mercy will follow you.

    • Hardy Schroeder says:

      Thank you, Rose, for your response; Thank you for this powerful reminder that God sent Emmanuel to be “with us” and that God sent the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to “come alongside” in our often overwhelming situations.

    • Thank you for your thoughts and comments, Rose!

  3. peabody49 says:

    Hope you folks are well.
    Nice story ML, but sad.
    Beautiful seascape Dave.

  4. ALBERT ISAAC says:

    Hi Dave and MaryLou Thank you for keeping us posted. We seem so much safer here. You are much in our thoughts lately. (Incredible photos). Al & Marg Isaac Date: Wed, 8 May 2013 16:29:34 +0000 To: isaacal@sympatico.ca

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