Monday, July 14, 2008



So its been almost a week since I wrote. Not that I feel pressured to do so by anyone else but me, because lets be honest, I'm not sure that anyone is actually reading this thing, but none the less it has been liberating for some strange reason to spill it all out onto here. It has been only days since I wrote but a lot of crazy things have happened.

I will start where the last one left off. Last Wednesday I got a phone call from Emily about an article in the newspaper. Recently, over the last 7 months, violence has engulfed the city where I work. There is a war between two rival drug cartels and while there has been very very very little collateral damage, the targeted damage has been disturbing. Anyway, I was just about to head over to Mexico for our weekly service for our US volunteers when the phone rang. She said there was an article that described a man who had been killed. Not out of the ordinary for the news reports that we get on a regular basis. However this one had a name and place attached to it. It described a waiter at a local establishment there in the city. A restaurant that I have been eating at for over 5 years. In fact I have become good friends with the owners and can honestly say that I don't remember paying for a meal there since 2004. The man described in the article was my friend, Edgar.

I have known Edgar since 2004. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot he was there, at my car window, always with a smile and a hug. Always willing to get me whatever I wanted, no matter what. And if anyone was with me, they got the same treatment. I never grew totally comfortable with this level of "treatment" but none the less it was nice to know that I could always get a meal and always had a table waiting for me. I'm not even sure that words can suffice at this point. Edgar's and my relationship was twisted I guess. I know that there's a strong, strong possibility that to him, I was just a walking dollar sign. "Here comes the guy that always brings a big group, or the guy that tips well" Maybe this is what he really thought of me. I will never know. I would rather think that just as I felt he would do anything for me, including kicking a sunglasses salesman one day who would not leave our table alone, that I would always listen to him. I would always invite him to sit with me and would ask him questions about his life, his day, his work. I do know that we never got past what he did on the weekend before, or how slow business was earlier in the day, but I felt in my heart, that there was a connection there. I prayed for Edgar on a regular basis, he will never know that now, but it is what it is.

I guess I am laying it out there to give legitimacy to the grief that I have been struggling with in the past 5 days and will probably struggle with tomorrow. Edgar was just another waiter at a restaurant, just another dirty guy with a checkered past, but I think that in 5 years, I got to see part of his heart. Perhaps a part that not many people have ever seen. This is why the news I heard on Wednesday still weighs heavy on my heart.

On Monday July 7th, Edgar had just gotten off work at the restaurant and was standing in the plaza, waiting for his wife. He was grabbed by a group of men who drug him into the street, placed him on his knees and put two shots in his chest, and one in his head. And just like that, in broad freakin daylight, in front of dozens of tourists, patrons, workers, and friends, Edgar breathed his last breath. He lay there in the street for a while, long enough for the media to take photos that would grace the paper on Tuesday morning. (They have no censorship there, and the gore that is front page will make you vomit if you have a weak stomach.)

As for the why in this case.....someone knows, and no one is talking. Presently in the city, you really don't want your voice heard too loudly. It may be the last thing you said. Those who witnessed the merciless execution were shocked, and those who knew Edgar, like I did, were stunned. Edgar had a past, just as anyone does, however, he had been clean of that lifestyle, at least publicly, for 4 years. I have no idea what he did after work, or on the weekends. I will let him rest though, while holding him the best regard. Some suggest he may have been approached because of his American citizenship to work for the Cartel, and he had refused...that's enough to do it. At this point it scares me to think that someone I know may have simply stood firm in their morals or seen something they shouldn't have and that was enough to seal the deal.

Why do I continue to wrestle with this? This took place, not on a street name that I don't know, or in a neighborhood I cannot find on the map, but in a place where I have stood. A place where I have parked my truck many times, shared meals with hundreds of people, a place where at one point I was completely at ease. I can remember sitting on the plaza, eating my standard chicken enchiladas, (I didn't even have to order, Edgar brought them out when I arrived), and thinking to myself, "this is real Mexico." A crowded plaza, pigeons, beggars, merchants, mariachis, and people. Real people. I am almost 100% sure that I can never go back there again. It will never be the same.

There are people who wake up everyday and literally put their lives on the line for Christ. I in no way want to detract from what they do. Here on the border, though, we sometimes put that in the back of our minds. It is, in fact, only 5 miles from my office. But none the less...we are warriors for Christ. Not in a violent or forceful way, but by carrying the banner of love. Even in the midst of the chaos that is all around us, not only here but in our lives everywhere, isn't it worth the risk, at the end of the day. Isn't worth the risk to know the greatness of the reward. We serve the King of Glory. Is there any higher calling than that. Not for me, whatever the cost.


sleep in peace Edgar, I miss you.

1 comment:

Clint Lovelace said...

Brandon, I just wanted you to know that I have been reading your blog and enjoyed it! It's a great way to connect with you guys since we are so far away! My heart too is broken after reading that last post, and I pray that you are able to find comfort in this situation and a healing will come over the whole thing.

We miss you guys and hope to see you soon! Wished you guys were closer!