I took this picture when I visited Lebanon three years ago.
The area is called “The Forest of the Cedars of God.”
Today, my heart feels like this picture. Dark, and yet at its core, a beautiful, soft light is pushing through.
I was 11 years old when the war started in Lebanon. That’s many moons, springs, winters, and heartaches ago. Scary memories, painful memories, and the horror of wars were tucked away, forgotten—or so I thought.
The emotional scars etched in my heart and soul were revived again and again and again over the years, by a moment, events, and lately an unforgettable date: August 4, 2020. An image, an explosion, a child’s scream, a dad’s wail, a mom’s despair. Broken glass, broken hearts. Loss of lives, loss of hope, loss of peace.
Today, I feel 11 again—scared, sad, helpless. Wondering where are we all going in this world? I feel lost.
I close my eyes, I take a deep breath, and I hear mom’s voice: “Salli ya Nada.” Pray Nada. Salli. Salli.
Believe in the goodness of people. Choose goodness. Don’t lose hope. Be resilient like the Cedar tree, strong like the Lebanese mountains, kind like a summer breeze.
Here I am, in Canada now, older and yet painful memories are revived. I’m devastated, feeling helpless and overwhelmed by sadness for my fellow humans. I listen to mom’s voice, I light a candle, and I pray—tears streaming down my cheeks. I pray for goodness in this world. I pray for all the people who lost a loved one, their home, their peace of mind. I pray for justice and fairness.
I cry for the emotional scars that they too will have etched in their hearts and souls, forever. Inked with their tears and sorrows, forever.
I cry, but I listen to mom’s voice. Let’s do what we can. Let’s pray. Salli Nada.
I pray for my Lebanon, for humanity; 2020 has been difficult, but we can all try to make it an awakening instead. A roar for justice. Let’s stand tall and roll our sleeves up and do what we can to help. Donate. Pray. Salli!
Let’s be strong in our kindness. Let’s get rid of evil—for you, for me, for our kids and theirs. Light a candle. Believe in the power of prayers.
With love and kindness, Nada.