In the village that I was born, there was a murder this week. A dispute went too far and a group from a nearby village killed a young man that lived close to where I was born. After the group of brothers murdered him, they called the boy’s father and said, “Come collect your son’s body. We have killed him.”
A few weeks ago, we read the papers and there was a story about a husband and wife walking home with their son when the husband and wife were gunned down. The wife died and the husband suffered minor injuries. What was first considered a racially motivated attack turned out to be a murder plot, orchestrated by the husband and his mistress.
A few weeks before that, there was the murder of three young men in Birmingham, UK during the riots in England. As these men tried to defend their town, they were run down by a car, none of them surviving.
These deaths have been on my mind. There is a sadness for the families of the people killed and a grieving for those moments before death when these people realized that this was how they were meeting their end. In violence. In hate. Their farewell drenched in the worst of this world.
What will we think of when we die? And will others think of us when they die? Is there a way to redeem that last moment for people who are about to die? A few years ago I was in a really bad car accident and I was sure that there would be no way I would survive. As car after car hit me, all I could think of was God and the people that I loved, begging God to have mercy on me and begging God to have mercy on them when they learned the news. I was scared but I was ok because truly in that moment I knew the love of God and I knew the love of all the people I held close.
We can’t control what will happen to us and we can’t end all violence and we certainly can’t evade death. But we can help make each others time here easier. We can be kind. We can smile. We can make someone feel loved. We can ease someones burden. I.P. Richardson wrote of death:
nor speak of me with tears
but laugh and talk of me
as if I was beside you….
I loved you so –
’twas heaven here with you.’
We can’t stop all the horrible things in the world from happening. But through our love, we can help create something beautiful here on earth. That is something.