Death in the family, death of a friend, death of a co-worker...death of a young child; how do you handle death?
Indeed, there is more than one way to do anything - and death is no exception.
As you may have heard, there was another crazy, insane, senseless rampage of killing this week at a school in Ohio. Sad and tragic three students died as a result of the fellow student's random violence.
This a painful and challenging reality to come to grips with for the parents of the students who lost their lives, as we as for the parents of the of the gunman schoolmate. Likewise this shooting death at another school has affected the immediate community, the nation and many others who share the disbelief and pain through online connection. A blanket of condolences and support go out families of those young students who lost their lives due to the tragic and irreversible choice of another student.
Certainly, nothing anyone can say this (earlier) in the tragedy to relieve the pain and absorb the overwhelming grief. And as the tragic facts unfolded, I can't help but consider that how I handle death is probably (very) different than most/many people.
Namely, I don't find death to be a horrible thing - even a young child's death. I truly believe it is as God has plans (perhaps people decide to carry out the plan in horrible way). I don't have fits of tears or emotional breakdown (and this is not to say someone close to me has never died - because there have been people very near and dear to me to "pass on" - as some of my family down south might say).
Moreover, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a fits of tears or a relieving cry when somebody you love /care about or know dies (especially in such tragic circumstances).
However, I remember of the story of a woman during the Civil War whose husband was killed in the battle and a clan of men from the opposing side stormed into her home triumphantly delivering the tragic news. After getting the bad news in such a horrible way, the new widower invited the men of the opposing side to join her at the family's table for the meal she was about partake. The unruly men took seats around the table, but as they proceeded to grab food and further dishonor the woman's home, the new widow closed her eyes and bowed her head and began to pray giving thanks for the food, thanking God for the care of her husband that was killed in the battle and in addition praying for the guest seated at her table. As the story goes when the woman finished her prayers and opened her eyes, she was the only one left at the table as all the rowdy and disrespectful men who had caused the death of her husband had fled her home. Apparently the very nerve of the woman to not only pray at such a tragic time, but to "pray positively" and in her "enemy's" favor was powerful enough to ward off the warmongers. When asked how she was able to maintain her composure and pray at such a frightening, tragic and painful time, the widow explained her faith didn't change because circumstances change - not even when the circumstances change in such painful, horrible and tragic way to affect her life.
I think this story is the good way to explain how/why I handle death differently (than most) because I do pray. I pray (affirm) the person "is in a better" place. I pray that the family and loved one's will not suffer prolonged pain of heart. I affirm that loved ones are comforted by sweet memories and familiar times they shared with the person.
I believe the loving grace of God will provide peace even in the most tragic circumstances.
I pray peace for the Chardon High School families and community.
“And you would accept the seasons of your heart just as you have always accepted that seasons pass over your fields and you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.” Kahlil Gibran, The Poet
To be continued...
To be continued...