In the spring of 2002, we brought a young man from Kosovo to Dallas to be fitted with a prosthetic. He had been living in England where he was expecting to receive immigrant status when the war broke out in his country. “I couldn’t stand by and see my family in danger without doing something to help”, he told me and so he returned to Kosovo.
Soon after his return, he stepped on a mine and lost his leg below the knee. He was sent to Italy to receive a prosthetic but returned to Kosovo before that process was finished. When he arrived in Dallas, I greeted a very grateful young man.
During the long process of being fitted for a prosthetic, Bajram volunteered at our warehouse, helped with translation and took English classes at a nearby college. After many appointments, the day finally arrived when he received his new leg. When he walked across the room unassisted for the first time since his injury, a smile came across his face I had not seen before. When we got into the car, he told me, “I can’t stop smiling!”
A local television station did a story on Bajram. He told them that he had played the cifteli, a small stringed instrument, but after his injury he no longer played it. “But now”, he said, “the music in my heart has returned.”
Later, on a visit to Kosovo, I visited the Center for Rehabilitation of Woman and Child in Pristine. The founder and director of the center told of a young child who had witnessed the murder of his family. He no longer spoke or showed any sign of joy you would expect from a child. “One day I was in the kitchen when he passed nearby”, she told me. “He was whistling. I knew he was going to be O.K.”
Over and over I have seen this story played out. The light, the song in our hearts, goes dim and we believe it has gone. We are all called to nurture, encourage, fan the flame of our brother/sister back to new life. This is the work of contemplative service.
Love in Action International
Read Rae's article in the June 2018 issue of the CO NEWS.