When we shared with our family that we were coming to visit them in Egypt, there was quite a clamor over where we would stay. That definitely makes one feel good, and I’m thankful for such a loving family. I knew, however, that there was but one place we could stay — at Zouzou’s house. My sister-in-law continues to live in the apartment where my husband’s family moved after the death of their father in the early 1950s. This was the apartment where my dear mother-in-law continued to raise her family of 9 children, until she watched them marry or leave the nest one by one over the next several decades.
This was the apartment to which Raouf and I went on our first trip to Egypt together as husband and wife, and it was where we would stay many more times over the next 20 years. It was the last place I laid my head before leaving the country with my two children and the dog (Raouf had traveled ahead two months earlier) back in 2009. I cannot count the number of family gatherings in that flat, from Christmases, to birthdays, to Palm Sundays, to engagements, and to just visits. We ate and talked and laughed and cried, time and time again within the confines of those walls.
Zouzou told us a story about a pastor who visited her after her mother passed away. He looked at the couch in the living room and said: “If that couch could talk!” He recounted how many times Um Roushdi (Raouf’s mother) would sit with him, when he was a young inexperienced pastor, and give him advice and encourage him to be strong in the Lord. She was a saint of the Lord, and had a special gift for encouraging and supporting pastors. This pastor told Zouzou: “That couch is priceless, for all the wisdom that was shared on it.”
As I thought about this story and looked around the room, I realized that even with the multiple renovations that had taken place in the home, this room would always be the same — the place where guests and family sat. Raouf sat here many a time and shared from God’s Word, answering questions, giving counseling, showing love. His mother sat in the same chair each morning and had her quiet time with God. Oh, if those walls could talk — what would they say?
I think they would say that God was with Um Roushdi, when as a young widow, she moved her family to a new place in faith that He would provide. They would say that God heard her prayers, as she cried out to Him for her children and grandchildren. They would say that God comforted her in her grief, as she lost not only her husband, but several of her children. They would say, her legacy lived on in the life of her devoted daughters, sons and grandchildren. They would say: God has made Himself known through the lives of this family in this home.
What do the wall of your home say?
Grace and Peace