Widow’s Peak


War. War widows, facing impositions and hardships, post-war. There are something like 2.2 million refugees who left Iraq since 2003; these refugees are in addition to the 1.4 million refugees who left from Iraq who had taken asylum in Iran in the Gulf War. There are something like 400,000 registered refugees who have fled Syria this year. There are more than two million refugees who constitute the diaspora from Iran since 1979. And today there is a fresh story of war in Gaza, of a people whose history is replete with threats; it might be a good day to reflect on the two million to three-and-a-half million war widows who live in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Plagiarism: to use another’s production without crediting the source. Like a definition to explain yourself. Or how to explain all of this recurring war?

”Whether you believe in the tempting-devil or not, I know through my own experiences the power of temptation. Simply, temptation always is about something good in us. Christian Theology holds that all good gifts come from God and lead back to God the Gift-Giver.” –Larry Gillick

(There is no discussion today about shame.)

The self-doubt about gifts: that I have gifts that might change the world, over time. Or not, as the past is so often repeated.

To reduce to utter non-existence, in a world where so many humans are reduced to non-existence. “A rather self-revealing exercise is to imagine being a Tempter. If I were to be a Tempter to you, I would attract you to doubt your gifts of singing, writing, or even parenting. On one hand, I might attempt to get you to sing so that you do this extensively and grow tired (addiction), or just discouraged by not doing things as well as ‘those’ others. On the other hand, I might joke about, compare you to others, be sarcastic, or just not respond positively at all. So just how would I go about tempting myself? Mainly, I would try to find out how you doubt yourself, and your gifts. This being true, then under-use or over-use of gifts hinders being lead back to God. Watch your temptations and hold on to what good God has given you.” – Larry Gillick

In a world where so many are reduced to non-existence, feel all the doubts in times of annihilation: again and again the stories of the past. “God has told Elijah the prophet, who has predicted a drought which is fulfilled, to hide out in the desert near a flowing stream which by this time has dried up. Elijah has heard that he is to go to one more place – a city – where he will find a widow in need.” In what becomes a familiar theme in the lives of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, there is drought. And there is the accompanying drama about survival. Writes Larry Gillick, “In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was gathering sticks.” So again, a drought, a widow, a prophet, with this widow having so little, in deep need, with a word-promise now from an invisible God through the words of a holy man, as the elements.

“ ‘Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die.”

“Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son.’ “

In a story of a widow dealing with what she has already lost in her world – her husband – is the prophet with the word-promise, too demanding? A widow becomes a central character, with all she has left – a son – facing not a future but an ending, with what should be palpable fear. When you have lost everything. “The various conditions of poverty or need form the context for God’s faithful love to be described.” So will God, Larry Gillick asks, be faithful?

The theme again and again of annihilation, with the stated condition of poverty/need which form the context meeting the theme of doubt when the waters dry up, about even this God, in a rather Self-revealing exercise. And the supporting characters of a son, in times of drought, with always the accompanying theme in drought stories thus about endings, about fertility. “If I were to be the Tempter, I would attract you to doubt your gifts” as being Chosen? There is little doubt, writes Larry Gillick, what the drought is doing. The real Jewish theme, again and again in the Hebrew Bible, is one of annihilation, with drought forming the context as God’s faithful love to Chosen People seems threatened? When not the widow but her son’s future is on the line, and Elijah is asking her to feed him? So this God Who has attracted her, now challenging what gifts that she has left, even as a parent? “So will,” Larry Gillick asks, “the woman trust?”

She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die.”

There is an inner confidence that over-comes the doubt within, even on issues of annihilation. History is replete with events that would cause any Jew to doubt the theology which has come from the papacy which does make claim to the inheritance of Abraham. Doubts about human kindness. Why, based upon the “Fair Use” rule of intellectual property, had not the Christian world responded when Hitler’s accomplices annihilated, one by one, European Jews? Had it been, it was wondered at the time, just more propaganda that came out of war, about human evil? When so much doubt about humanity led to doubts about God?

“So just how would I go about tempting myself?” Larry Gillick asks. “Mainly, I would try to find out how you doubt yourself, and your gifts.”

Like the gift of belief, when facing annihilation? When you felt so powerless, as a widow. And you turned to God.

So was there irony of intellectual property law that is based upon previous case law? Or like war is always based? Is war just another form of plagiarism, maybe like Christianity and Islam seemed to be from the religion of Sarah’s son? Would Abraham feel shame over all that transpired from his progeny? Over another brewing war over Jerusalem?

Fidelity meeting the theme of doubt in the story, about even this God, in a rather self-revealing exercise – when the waters dry up – about the widow.
What gets revealed as the waters of life dry up? Does an inner confidence ever over-come the doubt within, allowing that fidelity to be real – either God’s, or the widow’s faithful love which came out of belief –in each other? “There of course has to be some human response” – like to feed the prophet.” On in the accompanying reading, about another poor widow who came to temple and put in two small coins worth a few cents: in some kind of human response, to initiate God’s love in the community, to allow that fidelity to be real – of God’s love. The inner confidence within that over-comes any doubt within about the outside world.

She left and did as Elijah had said. She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well.”

In the aftermath of war effort and all of the expenditures, I wondered how much was being spent on the refugees facing the so real issues of issues of annihilation. Lyric Thompson has written a piece about International War Widow’s Day making mention that sixty-nine percent of widows in the Democratic Republic of Congo had been dispossessed of their property following their husband’s death. But there is something that you could do about those reduced to utter non-existence,in their new reduced set of circumstances, with all the profane sacrifices of war which reduce a people to utter non-existence –left so invisible.

http://www.womenforwomen.org/
http://filmraise.com/beyond-right-and-wrong/women-for-women/

donate, if you ever in your life felt chosen.
Copyright © 2012.
PHOTO by Steve McCurry of Sharbat Gula COURTESY OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

LINK http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2002/04/afghan-girl/index-text

 

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