Three members of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord family are dead after an Army combat medic killed himself and his wife, and police found the body of the couple’s 5-year-old son in their Spanaway home, according to police and the military.
It looks like just another news story. But tragically, the “wife” is the childhood best friend of my sister-in-law, Anne. The siblings, Dave, Paul, Anne, and John grew up with Kristy’s family — saw them as a second family. Early in our marriage, we watched fireworks with Kristy and her first husband; later, we rejoiced in hearing of the birth of her daughter. Then, there was a long period of silence, the result of mutual busy-ness and geographical separation. Through the grapevine, we heard she remarried and had another son.
And now she’s gone. Her son, too.
I am so sad.
I saw the daffodils poking up through the hard spring soil and my heart sang for a moment and then darkened. How dare they bloom on a day like this? When I picked my children up, they smiled and chattered gleefully about their day at school. How could they? The kids I tutored today still had to work during the allotted hours. Why?
And there’s the real question: why?
An event like this brings up all of the deep questions of the human soul. For me, why are we here? comes springing from my heart. Are we just animals vying for space and domination? Do we have a purpose? Does anything mean anything? Is nothing sacred anymore?
I wish that from some Deep Well of Love I could draw up all the power needed to heal what ails this world. I wish that I could be omnipotent and omniscient and intervene before things like this happen.
But God is most passionate about our free-will. He lets us be who we choose to be.
The problem is, we’re often horrid.
Which leads to another deep question of the soul — how should we then live?
Whenever I am overcome with griefs of this world, I know that there is only one answer — to fight it with love. I cannot bring David, Kristy and Jordan back to life. I cannot go back in time and stop David’s horrific acts of murder and suicide. I cannot even offer much comfort to a family’s inexplicable grief.
I am just me. A little wife and mom trying to write for a living.
But today, I’ll hold my little ones close and smell their hair and breathe in that sweet space in their necks — and think of Jordan. When I walk outside, I’ll inhale the brisk spring wind and lift my head up to the clouds and take a moment to live and think of Kristy. When Paul returns from the valley, I’ll hug him and be thankful for just who he is. I’ll remember that men hold a great deal of power to change the world. When they give to their world in love — both in small and big ways — their legacy is powerful and lasting.
We cannot solve everything. We can only solve ourselves. And the greatest tool we have is love. So I’ll love deeply and passionately and completely — like I only have today to do it.
I remember these verses in 1 Corinthians 13 — words that, because of their truth and power, will never die:
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.