This week in Iraq, there was a death in one of our families. The father died. Robert tells me that the funeral process there is a long process, and that grieving for the Kurds is something that people actually look at. In his words, “the wife will mourn long enough for people to know that she cared,” but for how long that is? who knows. One of our friends who was on Robert’s team is going back over to visit her, and we want to send a few small gifts to the family, but there would only be certain gifts that would be appropriate (we think)? For example, we think that perfume would not be appropriate now, even though normally that would be a much appreciated gift. Robert thinks that during mourning the wife is not allowed to perfume herself. She’s only allowed to wear certain clothes. And he said that she is not allowed to dance during this time. I asked how long that can last; he said sometimes as long as a few years. He told a story about how when he was there, there was another death, and another grieving process then…and he said, “Do you remember that photo of us dancing at the picnic? And she was dancing in it? That was the first time she’d danced. And that was a big deal.” It’s interesting then how one photograph can say SO much, right?
I said to Robert then, “It makes the scripture about how God will turn our mourning into dancing” mean so much more then when you understand that, right? He said yes, and that after being there, a lot of things make more sense. Here is the scripture I’m talking about:
1 I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. 2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. 3 You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit
of death. 4 Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. 6 When I was prosperous, I said, Nothing can stop me now!” 7 Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.
8 I cried out to you, O Lord. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying, 9 “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness? 10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord.”
11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, 12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!