D is for Dawn.
This post is about four Dawns — no, make that five. But where to begin?
Dawn #1 — For years, I have prayed for a friend named Dawn. I’ll call her Dawn-with-the-many-boys because this Dawn has four sons. Raising sons is the most fun job in the whole world. Boys possess a certain crazy energy that plays out in ways that most mothers never dream of — swords fights and jousting, damming creeks, and putting batteries down the drain. I speak from experience. Mothers of boys need prayer. So I pray for Dawn. Every day.
Dawn #2 — Several months ago, when I was praying for Dawn-with-the-many-boys, I felt this nudge to pray for another Dawn. I’ll call her Dawn-of-the-mutual-friends.
I felt a nudge – Pray for Dawn-of-the-mutual-friends.
“But I don’t even know her,” I countered.
Pray for her.
So I did.
Then she climbed into my car at the San Antonio airport. Unplanned. Yet, I wonder if it was. As her story unfolded to me, I realized how much she did need prayer. I felt both privileged and thankful that I could pray for her, and now in a more meaningful way.
Dawn #3 — For Lenten reading, I had chosen Elie Wiesel’s trilogy, Night, Dawn, and Day. High-schoolers across the country read Night, the story of Wiesel’s time in German concentration camps. Buchenwald, and Wiesel, are liberated at the end of Night.
But the story wasn’t over.
Dawn tells the story of a concentration camp survivor recruited by a Zionist group to fight in Palestine. Elisha, the main character, is called on to kill a man — an act that will forever change him.
“Elisha–” said the hostage.
I fired. When he pronounced my name he was already dead; the bullet had gone through his heart. A dead man, whose lips were still warm, had pronounced my name: Elisha.
I kept putting that scene next to this, from Night:
…The officer wielded his club and dealt him a violent blow to the head.
I didn’t move. I was afraid, my body was afraid of another blow, this time to my head.
My father groaned once more, I heard:
… His last word had been my name. He had called out to me and I had not answered.
And next to this, where a life is laid down, not taken:
“Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46)
I read Dawn a second time during my flights. I’m still wrestling with it.
Dawn #4 — I watched the sun rise every morning from a lonely place near Laity Lodge. In the daytime, I had bemoaned the telephone poles and wires stretching across this view. When I came home and looked at my photographs, though, I saw a cross, an empty cross, on a hill.
Dawn #5 —
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb… (Luke 24:1)
An empty tomb, an empty cross, a hard story that isn’t over yet, women who are dear to me.
Dawn, Dawn, and Dawn at dawn.