Back in the olden days of 2008, when publishing companies still had money to spend and dreams had not yet been dashed, an international publishing company made me a great offer through my agent:
Go anywhere in the world, and write any book you want.
I should have shouted…
Or even: “MONGOLIA!”
…packed my bags, and been on my way.
Instead, I vacillated and considered and weighed my possibilities. And then the economic world imploded.
Maybe that offer will come my way again, or maybe it won’t. But the question lingers in my mind: Anywhere… any book… What would it be?
I think I know: Sudan: Going Home Again
When I was last in Sudan, it was to visit the refugees from the south packed in the wretched camps of endlessly blowing sand. Hungry, desperate, and exhausted in the stifling heat, yet their hope lived on. After a quarter century of horrifying civil war, they just longed to go home.
Well, the war has ended, and those refugees are making their way back home.
I had asked the women, “What do you need most when you get back home? Houses? Seeds to grow food? Plows?”
They said, “What we need most is someone to teach us to forgive.”
They remember the trees and flowers of their home in the south. They remember the glistening ponds and their homes and churches. But they will be returning to scorched earth. Nothing is left. For my whatever-you-want book, I would like to be there with a clutch of women from Rwanda who have already walked that road. I want to talk to those returned folk–no, more than that, I want to listen to them.
I want to learn from them how to forgive.
“There is no use talking as if forgiveness were easy… For we find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again.”