The clip was recorded recently inside an ancient monastery of the Armenian Apostolic Church in central Armenia.

Such beauty. Such transcendance. Everybody who was passing through on that day stopped and listened, transfixed, to these singers.

For some of us though,there is no beauty to speak of in our lives. No favours; no free rides; no second chances. Mercy seems in short supply and justice is hidden out of sight.

As I write this I am thinking of the young mother and her little girl whose skeletal remains were discovered hundreds of kilometres apart, years after they had had their lives snuffed out, by someone (or ones) they should never have met, let alone trusted.

Life was not beautiful for them. The young mother had walked out of the family home, and took her little girl, barely two, with her. Living out of a car, they existed on the margins, drifting wherever the wind, or the mother’s whims, took them. There would likely have been a series of benefactors: boyfriends; ‘protectors’; drinking buddies; casual acquaintances; even the odd kind hearted person now and then.

Running away from who knows what at home, they bounced from place to place like pinballs. There were few flashing lights though, and no winner’s bonuses. The mother was killed in a lonely forest and her body left under a pile of leaves, to be found by chance long after there was any possibility of identification of her remains. The daughter, and I shudder to think about this, was taken away and killed some time later and her body shut up in a suitcase and tossed into scrub alongside a country highway about a thousand kilometres away.

I guess the only miracle that ever came their way was that they were both found, identified as mother and daughter, and probably will be laid to rest together. (Great police work!)

I sit and think about them and I feel conflicting priorities. I feel a rage that makes me want to scream out at the obscenity; this manifest evil that crouches at a safe distance and smirks at me, challenging me to do something about it. Or, more correctly, taunts me for my inability to do anything at all to make things right for this mother (herself barely a child) and her little girl. I also feel a sadness that extends outwards, beyond time and place.

I refuse to believe this is where it ends. Inside I scream for justice and demand to know why this happened to two innocents. It is not right and not how I want the world to be. But I have lived long enough to have learned that what I think about such matters is not relevant to the outcomes.

Instead I choose to believe that evil does not have the last word. I choose to believe that those two young souls matter; that they are not (and never were) disposable and inconsequential. I choose to believe that somewhere, one fine day, they will be surrounded by the love and care they failed to find in their short unhappy lives.

One fine day.

Meanwhile I am grateful for the beauty that for whatever reason is strewn in my path. The song clip above is one I recorded recently in a cave monastery in Armenia. It continues to send shivers down my spine, and reminds me that no matter where I find myself, there is something beyond me and that something is good.

If I would be so bold as to ask anything of God this afternoon, it would be that young mother and child would know such beauty too.

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