Friday, December 10, 2010

An Empty Chair

This year for the first time in 74 years a Nobel Peace prize recipient was not allowed to attend the awards ceremony and no representative was there to receive the honer. Liu, a democracy activist, is in prison in China. An empty chair was placed in his honor holding his picture. The audience responded with a standing ovation when the call was made for his release.

Empty chairs state someones' absence.
A still void, a business, or a call to duty.
A missing of someone.
An invitation.
A visit.

After my junior year in academy I traveled to Brazil as an exchange student for the summer. I attended the boarding academy for the last portion of their first semester (their school year is set up differently).

It was an incredible immersion. A latin warmth and inclusiveness I had not felt before. Even though I often did not understand their words they made a place for me among them. I returned in the fall to Shenandoah Valley Academy to complete my senior year with a heart enriched by my experiences in Brazil.

About Christmas time my senior year I received a package from Tia Sueli in Brazil. It was a mailer with pictures of graduation. Their high school is a three year program from which they graduate in December. Among the remembrances was a large picture of me that was signed on the back by all the graduates. At their graduation ceremony they had included an empty chair with my picture on it among the rest of the graduating students on stage. It is difficult to describe the warmth that filled my heart at this gesture of friendship.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

For the fist time in history there was an empty chair in heaven. Someones absence was keenly felt for over 30 years. There was a still void, a business, and a call to duty. The invitation. The visit. Saudade.

It was an incredible immersion into a stark reality of the cruelest tyranny, debilitating disease, and the slaughter of innocent. They did not understand the words. There was no welcome.

Later some called him an activist. Few called him friend. Though he released humanity, humanity tortured him and no one noticed the call for his release.

With his heart touched by his experiences on earth he places his signature on our picture and pulls an empty chair up close. Waiting with excitement for us to come.

He sends a remembrance brimming with the tenderest warmth:

"To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne."

My heart is filled with His gesture of grace. . . of hope.


Teddy said...

That is a really beautiful thought Caitlin, Thank You.

Shaila Meharry said...

I love it when you write! Your thoughts inspire me. I'm so thankful for you! Never stop being the real, spontanious, beautiful, and silly you that is inside. (This world is a duller place because some people have decided to "grow up" and be serious... don't loose your mischievious sparkle. : ) I know that had nothing todo with what you wrote, but it's ok; I can get distracted too. ;~) love you!

Caitlin said...

thank you.

Cindy said...

May I share this with others? You pulled so many thoughts together in a perfect fit! Please keep writing - it is your gift. Well, one of them, any way! :)