Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tsavet Danem

"Tsavet danem" literally means, "I take your pain." Although the
modern usage of this phrase has drifted much from the original
meaning, it is easier to see this phrase lived out in the lives of the
people of Armenia. As neighbor helps neighbor, as burdens are shared
and bared, and labor is taken up together.
Although I was not here for the earthquake in 1988, I do remember
exactly where I was when I heard about it. Fourteen years old serving
as a candle holder in St. Gregory Church in Fowler, Father George
Arakelian announced that an 8.9 earthquake struck near the town of
Spitak in Northern Armenia. I had no idea then that I would be
rebuilding those very homes that were destroyed, and to live and
witness the devastation day after day 20 years later. I had no idea I
would be so enmeshed in lives of these people struggling to survive.
I have come to understand what it means to say tsavet danem as I work
hand in hand with my own neighbors rebuilding their homes and
encouraging them to persevere.
Story after story, live after live, changed in a moment forever.
Homes destroyed, children losing parents, parents losing children,
husbands, wives, loss of limbs, loss of purpose, never to be the
same. It is almost to much to comprehend such tragedy, living in
tents through the winter, then shipping containers, and still. This
burden was taken up by the world, as country after country came to
little Armenia to rebuild and yet the pain is still there. Then homes
are still not complete, families are broken, and the people bear the
scars of this tragedy. We say tsavet danem as we lift them up and
bear their burden with them.


Chris said...

Do you know the hymn "Will You Let Me Be Your Servant"? What an honor to be as Christ's hands and feet. What an honor to know that God chose you and planted the seeds of this very service so long ago. We pray for you every night. We love you.

Anonymous said...