why it hits me so hard this year

april is always a hard month for the agaba family.  and its not nearly as hard for me as it is for robert, since he is rwandan and has loved rwanda his whole life and i only fell in love with rwanda 7 years ago.  and its not nearly as hard for him as it is for rwandans who were in rwanda during the worst part of the genocide (he did not re-enter rwanda from having been a refugee until the genocide was winding down but it has marked him deeply none the less).  so when i say its hard for me, i recognize that my 'difficult' time in april is nothing at all in comparison to the 'difficult' time had by those who survived, and even by those who killed.

but nonetheless, this april feels very heavy.  and i think is is especially heavy because i am mourning eden's heritage.  don't get me wrong.  i love that she is half rwandan (halfrican as my sister calls it), so its not that at all. i am mourning the fact that the genocide is part of who she is, where she came from.  i am going to have to explain that it is the reason she will never meet some of her family.  i am going to have to tell her that evil like what happened in the genocide is still pervasive and rampant in this world, in the human heart.  and it broke my heart to dwell on that yesterday.  it breaks my heart now.  

i think i also mourn the loss of children's lives in the genocide in a new way.  i always felt repulsed at the idea of killing children, especially because i worked for years with the children i taught in rwanda. but now, as a mother, it cuts me to my core.  and i can't help but wonder, what would i have done if i watched someone kill my child.  my eden.  i know, its horrible to think about.  but its the reality for so many rwandans.  and when rwandans reach for forgiveness, they have to reach there.  that feels impossible.    

and what if we had been in rwanda during the genocide?  what would have happened to robert, to eden, to me?...no good can come from imagining that, i know. but im being honest, it is where my thoughts wander.

eden comes from a people who have one of the darkest histories known to man.  but she also comes from a people who have, and can, teach the entirety of humanity a profound lesson on forgiveness.   no one has hurt like rwanda has hurt.  no one has suffered like they have.  and so no one can forgive in a more powerful way. i like that part of eden's heritage.  i can't wait to teach her about how God can bring redemption to any situation, heal a rift between any people, work repentance into any heart...draw forgiveness out of very unlikely places.

redemption comes in strange places,
small spaces,
calling out the best of who we are

-Sara Groves

photos of some of my dear students, 
born to a land of both profound sorrow and profound forgiveness 



  1. Loved reading this.
    Honest. Hope. Love....some of the words that come to my mind when I read this....thanks for sharing :)

  2. Thanks for sharing this....and gorgeous photos!


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