As many of you already know, tension in Lebanon is on the rise. This matches the look that many of you gave us this summer as we traveled the United States and were given many eyebrows rising and dropped jaws opening. All summer long we repeated the same story, “Everyone in Lebanon, tells us they feel safer there than their own home country.” Honestly, we have felt safe here. Even now with the turmoil that is present we don’t feel threatened, but we are having to be more cautious.
Last weekend, Darron and I needed to get to some meetings in the mountains about 35 minutes away. On Thursday many of the young people had started lighting tires around the city to protest how they felt about rising taxes and many other issues. On Friday at 11:00 a.m. we headed out and were 10 minutes from home when we had to turn around, due to a roadblock and much unrest. The sky was dark with all the tire smoke and the air quality was so poor that we closed our windows and turned on the air conditioning even though it wasn’t that hot. At 3:00 p.m. it looked as if the sky was clearing so we decided to make another attempt.
At first, we thought everything was better. However, just as we were about to get on the freeway, we realized that the road was blocked with these effective tire fires. Trying to navigate a different way to the freeway we turned in a different direction from home. Now tire fires had us trapped from getting home. For over an hour we weaved in and out of road after road, like a maze in-between tall building, to only encounter more hot smoking tires. They were placed strategically and were creating chaos as people were trying to make their way to their destinations. Our GPS was going crazy as it kept giving us orders to “turn left, turn left, turn left” and we had to keep disobeying it’s wisdom.
At last my dear husband, who has an internal GPS system (unlike me, who hardly knows East from West, on a good day), and with wisdom from God, we were able to navigate home.
The next morning, we were able to dodge the fires and made it to our speaking appointment. We were with an amazing group of individuals and it was such a blessing to spend time with them. I got to hold lots of the sweetest little Syrian babies.
The boys had things to do, so they stayed home. We tried to get them, on the Saturday evening, because the place was so beautiful. However, 10 minutes from home we had to turn around because of these road blocking tire fires. Sunday after finishing our commitments at 4 p.m. we set off coming a back way across the mountain to get home. Two political detours later, we made it safely home.
At home, on our hill in Beirut, is it easy to pretend that nothing is wrong. All seems peaceful. We notice it, when we must leave the hill and venture out for groceries or further. There is an unrest, and towards the harbor the roads continue to be shut down and full of people determined that there will be change. The garbage is piling high, where normally it is picked up daily. The bank has been closed for over a week. Our pay cannot be deposited into the account. The freshwater delivery has been unstable. School has not been in session for the past week.
The Syrians are weighted, asked not to be involved or seen, a reminder of what they have recently escaped from. The Lebanese are restless also….as they wait, to see what will happen.
Meanwhile, we try each day to do what is before us. School. Work. And we pray, wishing only the best for Lebanon. A country that we long to see be blessed. There is much beauty here. The summer desert like weather makes the fruit extra sweet and the veggies bountiful. The harvest is great. I keep reading and claiming this verse that I have copied on a post-it note in my kitchen:
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land,
And feed on His faithfulness,
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.