Follow by Email

Monday, July 25, 2011

Other people

 Bad stuff happens to other people. You see them on the news and they live in a faraway place, California, Ohio, Timbuktu. Bad stuff doesn't happen to you or in your neighborhood. That's a nice secure thought we have as children. Then we grow up and get divorced. Or endure the loss of an unborn child. Or someone close to us goes to jail. Our friend's parents, or our own, die.
  Our secure bubble bursts but we make another one by saying, "well, at least THAT didn't happen." as we watch the evening news and say a quick prayer of gratitude. 
  I was walking my kids to a playground in my neighborhood today and was reminded that tragedy strikes very close to home and doesn't give a flying fig about your bubble. Not far from my home, a young girl was shot to death by her 16 year old boyfriend. Her body was hidden in the woods on the side of a hill near my house. There's a park at the top of the hill where you can see all of Portland, it seems, and my smaller kids love to go up there and play.  She attended the same high school my older daughter, Bekah, will attend in the fall. And, she was last seen at a fast food restaurant a couple of blocks past the school.
  As we walked through the neighborhood and by the school, I wondered about the other people in the area who were touched by the lives of these two young people. What about her friends and classmates? The people she saw on the bus or in the restaurant? The people who remembered seeing her?  What about the people who lived near them? Did anyone hear the shot that night but dismiss it? I think about the kid who did this. That's what he still is- a kid. He was on the news sitting in a courtroom and that's all I could think, "He's just a kid! He looks so young (because he is) and his life is over."  
  Lastly, I think about the parents of these children. The young man's father had to move out of the house where the shooting occurred. Both families lost a child. How do they go to sleep at night? How do the get up in the morning? How do they relate to other people now? And will they ever be able to go about their lives and  conduct them just like other people?