Sunday, March 29, 2009

When God seems to be silent

Perhaps when God seems to be silent, it is not because nobody is speaking; perhaps it is because we are unable or unwilling to hear what is being said.


Felix said...


When I read your blog entries, I do not want to shed tears or write velvety-fluffy words. I do not know if you will understand me, but there are moments in life when one should only say the most important things, like in your case with the book – should I be able to finish it? Should I even start it? In the case of you and me it is whether we should discuss the weather, if it is not worth the time spent on its discussion. I wish to speak with you about purely manly things, not even Christian ones – like faith, hope, and church, which are also very important. I want to talk to you about courage, honor, audacity, betrayal, power, victories, dignity and duty, about loyalty in a fight, and again about courage. When I think about you – and pray of course – but your case stand for me a better example of medieval manhood than all the films about Patriots and Gladiators taken together. Our century dissolves the borders between men and women – they both now clicking the keyboards typing. And there was a time, when a man was the embodiment of courage, while women were still clicking the keyboards (all right, keeping the hearth). When I think about you I keep returning there in my mind’s eye. I do not know why.

You are giving me the example of courage that one gets from reading Ivanhoe or Rob Roy or any of the right books that we read in childhood.

Maybe it is all words and when the choice knocks on my door, I will forget about my heroes from whom I try to learn.

Many years ago I was young and stupid and tried to kill myself. I took some pills and fell asleep. I can still remember the feeling of fear that woke me. I awoke in a terrible fright of death. I wanted to shout – the parents were in the next room – but I could not. The pills stuck my throat I was unable to produce even a hoarse whisper. I was hissing and crawling away from the bed in which I was so afraid to die. Then I lay on the kitchen floor and hissed, but my cousin, who is a nurse and who was visiting with us then, went to pee at three am and found me on the floor. She saved me. But I can still remember the fear that got me up from the bed.

The amazing thing is that now, when the Father is taking care of me, I understand that He would not let me, the unsaved, go then, having a plan for me. And secondly, I will never again be able to be as afraid as I was then. I know what happened between the animal instinctive primal fear of death then and me today. Today I am afraid of only one thing – that something might happen to my children. The today me is not afraid of death.

Hold it, Felix, you should hold it, because we can say anything, but until the lot is cast, until it is time to go, we do not know what we are capable of. Just like the small hobbits that turned out more capable than the very tough Boromir. Or like in the Power and Glory by Graham Greene, when the priest that was considered a wuss and an outcast by everyone appeared stronger than others when the deadly danger came.

Whatever, Glenn, I am not going to be all pink sugar, the more so I am not going to waste time on compliments. When I think about you, it reminds me of all the deepest book characters who formed me as a man, who instilled the sense of Motherland, the sense of fatherhood, the sense of fairness in me, all the senses that pertain to a real man – because you revived these senses in me.

All the things that got covered with white dust in everyday paperwork exercises conquer my heart again when I think of you. All my book heroes remained both in the books and in the heart. And although I was growing and forming together with them, I was never able to talk to them, to touch them. You became my hero, because you go to fight with the visor flipped up and the fair weapon and even though it might be the last fight, you still go, knowing that we look at your back, that we go behind you, knowing that by the way you fight this fight and go this road you will show us how we should go when it is our time to fight. Looking at you I will never again lie and hiss on the kitchen floor full of fear, expecting that someone will go to the bathroom and save me.

Glenn, man, I wish to shake your feeble hand!

Glenn Penner said...

My dear friend, Felix. I think it significant that I began my missionary career proper in Ukraine and it ended there as well. My love for your homeland and its people is undiminished and I thank you for your kind words.