I found two blog entries about growing up in Beirut during the war, 13 turns 31 and War and Remembrance. Both are followed by comments of people remembering their own war experiences in Lebanon.
I felt very fortunate after reading of the experiences of others. Many had traumatic stories to share. Many of the experiences happened after my family had already left Lebanon or took place in Beirut itself. Many of the bloggers are Muslim. We were more protected in our small Christian village tucked in the mountains above Beirut.
Despite differences of time, place, and religion, I could connect with the memories. I can also hear Israeli planes flying low enough to break the sound barrier and scare those underneath. I also can walk among shrapnel decorated buildings until they are normalized, and watch boys play war knowing that one day the "toys" they play with will be real and deadly. I also collect shell remains following my retreat to the shelter.
I don't have anything striking to write about these memories now. I may not ever. Or at some point, I may have a flood of memories and thoughts. Perhaps when I am in Lebanon this fall.
I will conclude with a quote from Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller, who grew up in Rhodesia now Zimbabwe during the civil war:
" Those of us who grow in war are like clay pots fired in an oven that is overhot. Confusingly shaped like the rest of humanity, we nevertheless contain fatal cracks that we spend the rest of our lives itching to fill."
At this moment, I see the cracks as stretch marks created by my experiences both in Lebanon and beyond. I don't see them as negatitive as Fuller's seem to be and I surely do not see them as fatal. They are the marks of my shaping and I was fortunate enough for some of this shaping to occur in Lebanon.