Three little girls lost their Dad and sister today. A woman lost her husband and child today. A number of teenagers lost a classmate, and are thinking about death and the afterlife for the first time. Many people lost a friend, a family member, a teammate, a mentor. Even more people lost someone they cheered and perhaps idolized. And there’s one woman out there who is listening to the world tell wonderful stories about a man she was frightened of. A man who hurt her – physically, mentally, spiritually.
Tonight I cannot stop thinking about that woman. How hard it must be to listen to the testimonies of so many supporters. Does she want to shout, is she hiding from the TV, is she angry or sad or relieved or all of it?
Death at a young age scares the hell out of all of us. Death of someone who is larger than life reminds us all that we mere mortals will certainly succumb at some point. Death of a person with a young family tugs at our heart strings, and we feel for those girls and their Momma.
And yet, the woman.
The woman, and all the women like her who just want or wanted someone to believe them. The woman, and all the women like her who know what it feels like to watch someone who’s behaved so badly be loved and believed by all the world.
All people, all of us, are a combination of good and bad. Sin and virtue. Obedience and transgression. Truth and lies. And yet some of us have seemingly sinned worse than others – have hurt people more than others. As a child I was taught all sins are equal. As an adult I believe that all sins are definitely not equal, but they have a commonality and that’s that they keep us alone and separated from God.
A person who volunteers in a food kitchen can have too much to drink, get behind the wheel of a car, and kill someone. A person with a wife and daughters he loves and cherishes can also be someone who, from another woman and perhaps only that one time, didn’t take no for an answer.
We like to conveniently forget or even completely deny the sins of people who’ve done great things or that we love, but there’s no question that even he recognized how he’d really behaved. His public apology said in part, “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
The woman. I don’t even know her name. I imagine she feels confusion today. More accurately, I imagine she feels tremendously today – that she just feels a lot of all kinds of different feelings.
In death, almost all of us will leave people behind. Mourners. To mourn means to feel deep sorrow, but it can also mean regret and disappointment. In that light, I think mourn can apply to all of the people left behind, in all of their varying and complex situations and feelings.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4