Good writing partners are hard to find. If you’re too different, nothing melds together. 

Sophie was a loved and dedicated member of SOIF’s team. She sadly passed away in 2021. She was fabulous to work with and we were lucky to have such a formidable brain and communicator as a team member. She was challenging in her commitment to get the right message and call out bullshit, and passionate in wanting to build a better future. She was fun, driven, imaginative, with a little bit of wildness under her composure. 

She had a passion for the Balkans – which is why we have established a Balkans NGFP award – we also hope that you will appreciate these texts which we share in her memory.

We think of her, her family and loved ones all the time. Words are insufficient.

Excerpts from the Bridge over the River Drina by Ivo Andrić

The book – About the Paša Sokolović
Bridge in Višegrad, which spans the Drina
River and stands as a silent witness to
history – reminds me of Sophie:

  • it unites three perspectives: Oriental Turkish world, Orthodox Christians and Jewish culture
  • it symbolizes the cyclical nature of time; of the intertwining of past, present and future. Of the power and role of history, navigating inevitability as well as hope & agency
  • and it embodies the themes of tolerance and love, of reality and difficulties of interfaith dwelling, as well as drama and passion, conflict and diversity and love.

This small town lived from the bridge, it has grown out of it, as if it bloomed from its root.

The bridge is a Wonder Made out of Rock.

It stood out with its whiteness, it seemed so light with its eleven arches of unequal size, and it rose as a strange arabesque above the green water, among the dark hills.

Bridges are an expression of the eternal human struggle to connect, join and make peace with something on the other side.

Muslim Sage Alihodga in the book says that Angels spread their wings so men can cross. So men learned from the angels of god how to build bridges. Every bridge has its guardian angel who cares for it and maintains it for however long that god has ordained it should stand.

Walking with grief

Do not hurry
as you walk with grief;
it does not help the journey.

Walk slowly, pausing often:
do not hurry
as you walk with grief.

Be not disturbed
by memories that come unbidden.
Swiftly forgive;
and let Christ speak for you
unspoken words.
Unfinished conversation
will be resolved in Him.
Be not disturbed.

Be gentle with the one
who walks with grief.
If it is you,
be gentle with yourself.
Swiftly forgive;
walk slowly, pausing often.

Take time, be gentle
as you walk with grief.

Adapted from a passage
in David Elginbrod

By George MacDonald
in Celtic Daily Prayer:
Prayers and Readings from the
Northumbria Community, 2002.

USA: HarperCollins.