An elderly woman had a camel. It was her only source of income. One day the camel was stolen and she believed a rich neighbor was the thief. She searched and sure enough, among his thirty camels she found her camel.
Everyone was amazed by her accusation. Would a rich man really steal a poor woman’s only camel? And how was it possible for her to know that a certain camel was hers?
She was questioned, “How can you prove it?” The woman answered, “Kill the camel and open her chest. On her heart you will find a scar.”
They were hesitant but in the end they killed the camel and there on the heart was a scar just as she had said there would be. It could be easily seen. Everyone was astonished.
The rich man gave her two camels as a gift. Then he asked her, “How could you know there was a scar on her heart?” “It was simple,” she said. “Two years ago the camel’s baby was killed by a wolf. The camel was so sad that I knew it must have left a mark on her heart.”
[a Moslem story from Peacemaking: Day by Day]
I came upon this story recently and it stayed on my mind. We’ve all lost loved ones and have experienced the pain of a heart pierced by loss. Of course we each feel it in our own way, in varying degree and length of time. — Sometimes it feels deeper than a pierce, more like a gouged or a shredded heart. Therefore it is important not to allow anyone to rush you through the time it takes to heal. We call the process grief and there are no rules, so never apologize for how you feel.
The only certainly or should I say mercy, is that God gives us scar tissue that mends and heals but when the loss is deep it takes a long time to heal and the scar will leave a mark on your heart. Those who love you know it is there and understand, and God not only knows but sees it.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. [Hebrew 4:16]
Gracious God, grief washes over us in waves and sometimes it feels as though we cannot catch our breath. Be with those hurting and sad this day and assure them of your mercy and power to mend and heal. Our concealed scars are formed of a tissue stronger than what was there before. Thank you for the protection it offers but also for the memory it holds of those we have so deeply loved. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen
The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier