The Business of Good Bye

I’ve spent most of the month of January across the mountains from our desert ranch in the rainy forest-land of the south Puget Sound area of my beloved Washington state. Normally I’d be thrilled to be able to spend so much time here with my friends. However I’ve been here for the specific purpose of saying good bye and ushering out two loved ones to their eternal homes with Jesus. I have spent mornings tucked up in Bob’s easy- chair for morning devotions and prayer, but life is anything but easy right now.

Though he wasn’t my biological father, he has been my dad. Since I was 7. He taught me to fish with my bare hands, gut and clean a trout, pack it in leaves and mud and bake it on hot coals for nourishment. He made me learn to drive a pick-up truck in the mountains in the snow. He was my champion in turbulent times. Sitting in the hospital with him, holding his hand as he goes through the laborious and painful process of dying from cancer is my privilege, though one I would rather not have.I’ve watched him slowly melt away from still-strong as an ox to frail and feeble. I have spent the past week spooning soft foods into his mouth and lifting the straw to his parched lips for cool sips of water. I have held his hand and spoke of heaven more times than I can relate. Lately I’ve had to remind him where he is, and worse yet, why.

I have also said good bye to a sweet friend of well over 20 years. Much too young, and again, because of brutal cancer. Such a wicked, consuming disease to prey on beautiful souls. Not too long ago this thoughtful, careful planner put together a stack of self-addressed and pre-stamped envelopes for my youngest son. She wanted him to send her his artwork to help cheer her up during more treatments. It was a lovely thing to do for both of them. And me. I only wish those treatments that used up her poor body had actually been effective. So does her family, who lost her father less than two weeks before her.

2018 has started out downright mean. But I know God’s character and that He’s good. And that gets me through, and both of them agreed with that.

My marriage has been healed somehow, in all of this grief- I don’t even know how. Friendships from decades ago have been re-newed face-to-face, and as if they had never been put on hold. God is nice that way, and if we look for Him in the darkness, He’s always there with a ray of light to hold onto until we can be lifted out again in the sunshine. But even in the deepest and darkest pit there is always the Son shining the way for us believers who know the way.

He’s good. That’s all I can say.

God is good and we’re okay.

Book Review · jews, nazis, holocaust · Uncategorized · war

The Last Girl

The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State

by Nadia Murad


Nadia grew up in a small Iraqi village called Kocho with her large family. In 2014, she was 21 years old and aspired to be a beautician She was innocent and protected, like all of her family, as well as the entire village. They were Yazidi, a small minority religious group without written text, but oral traditions and worship sites. They lived hard, poorly, and quietly, hurting no one. They were massacred, raped, and pillaged for not converting to the radical muslim faith practiced (loosely) by the militants demanding their property, and their very lives.

ISIS militants attacked the village after a siege in which they lied to the villagers, tricking them into thinking if they gave in willingly, they would be allowed to run to a nearby mountain to safety. Instead, the men were all shot Nazi-style into mass graves, the older women too. Adolescent boys were brainwashed and turned into militant soldiers after the trauma they experienced. The younger women and girls were sold as sex slaves to other militants. Beaten, raped repeatedly, humiliated, starved, and treated worse than we can imagine, Nadia, only one of thousands of girls, escaped. She has since dedicated her life to telling her story to bring ISIS to justice, and to help prevent other women and children from enduring the torture she lived through.

What a harrowing journey you will take with Nadia and her family in this book, but really, I have said before, and say again, such tales take courage to be told, and shouldn’t we then, at ease in our safe lives, be willing to listen? Hopefully of course, we will seek out some way to be helpful if we are touched enough to respond. So often we sit in leisure, and this is how the genocide of the Yazidis in Iraq happened. As always, history shows that it is the complacency of ordinary people turning their eyes away that help evil to stir itself and devour the innocent.

I found this memoir hard to read, but equally hard to put down. It was well-written, and clear. Informative but deeply intimate and personal. I think this story is worth reading, and re-telling, until there are no more women and girls like Nadia.

  • I received this book from the publisher for free and agreed to an unbiased written review

Watch a YouTube interview

Read an excerpt 


A bit of Q & A w/ Nadia from the above website:
Why do you feel so strongly that it’s critical to fight ISIS not only on the battlefield, but in the courtroom?
It’s not enough for ISIS to be destroyed militarily. In order for the world to see who they are, they need to be held accountable in international courts on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. This is the only way Yazidis will possibly be able to move on with our lives, mourn our dead, and try to rebuild what we lost. It is also the only possible way to prevent a future genocide. What else are international courts for if not to stop another Holocaust, Rwanda, or Sinjar? A trial tells the militants that the world in the twenty-first century is built in a way that values life and humanity above mere power and fear, and that not only are we capable of protecting the most vulnerable, but that we will, no matter what.