A few weekends ago, I stood at the top of a gorgeous waterfall. I was taking a few minutes to relax before continuing my walk and determined something:
Iraq is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
I’m constantly blown away by vistas I never knew existed in this world—much less in Iraq.
Yet in these picturesque locations, I find pristine rivers and mysterious caves populating the same area as abandoned tanks and still-active land mines.
To the cynical mind, this seems typical of a nation haunted by never-ending tabloids of war, conflict, and violence.
And those reports are true—to an extent.
But violence as the full-story is inaccurate because it ignores all the beautiful chapters still being written.
I see glimpses of beauty when Iraqis and Americans gather together in cafes at ungodly hours of the morning to watch a World Cup match; when foreigners share the international language of laughter with their local taxi driver; when “gangs” of kids tear across town on their bikes.
If we only listen to pundits declaring hopelessness, we are really committing our own acts of violence against a people whose story is so much more just brokenness.
In the midst of all that’s collapsing in this country, I choose to tell the other side of the story.
When we become storytellers of forgotten stories, we allow those on the outside to look in and see: all is not lost here.