Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Time to Love

More destruction of life, other families’ unimaginable suffering… 
A young woman, just 20, for an unknown reason speeding through the streets, loses control of her car and critically injures a 21 year old man - a pedestrian - and dies herself.

The vehicle struck a light pole so forcefully the car was sheared in half. Unbelievable but true. Incomprehensible, yet it happened. 

Photo by Steven Lane, The Columbian 
Now there is one family trying to survive the loss of Annastasia, trying to figure out why she drove in a manner “not like Annie whatsoever,” and another family is dealing with the major – life-threatening – injuries of Joseph. There will be financial costs on both sides, heart-ache, confusion, emotional pain beyond all previous imaginings. It is so very, very sad.

And the impact of this wreck, this crash, this collision - not an accident, though assuredly not planned – is not confined to just the families of Joseph and Annastasia. The impact is felt by their friends, the first responders, the witnesses, the media personnel and their audience, the medical staff at the hospital, even the families of everyone just mentioned, and more. This is a ripple in a pond.

In my experience, public opinion is an unexpected additional blow to already devastated families during these types of tragedies. In this situation, comments ranged from people praying and commiserating with both families, to some singling out just Joseph’s family for prayer and good thoughts, to varied speculation of what caused the crash, to outright condemnation of Annastasia - and even her family, for raising such a person.

Nobody really knows why this happened. But I do know that now, people are hurting. They need support. And part of that support and caring is keeping silent about the faults of their loved one, at least where a mother or a brother or a grandparent might see or hear it. We are not helping anyone by making attack comments in the media. Instead that just creates more separation, more hurt, more defensiveness… and less clear thinking all around.

There is a time and a place for making an issue, for proving a point, for having to be “right.” But this time, right now, is a time to love.

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