Monthly Archives: December 2012

In Response to Tragedy – An Open Letter to Adam

I, as so many around the country and the world, am grieving the loss of the innocent children and adults whose lives you took last Friday.  I still cannot watch the news or look at their faces without feeling my throat tighten and my eyes filling up.  Yet, this morning, I was drawn to rise early and write to you – because next to all those innocent faces, I also saw, dear Adam, your face.  I know how very desperately you did not want to be seen or to be known.  So, I am praying that this letter reaches you by the Grace only God can provide.

You may wonder, Adam, how I see you.  Well, in part, I see you though the eyes of my beautiful seven year old grandson who has autism.  You see, last year, at his end-of-year program, he decided he just could not walk out onto the stage with all those people staring.  Like you, though perhaps for different reasons, he decided he just could not be seen in that way.

And, as I watched the news, I saw your picture.  And, I saw you.  My first overwhelming thought was why the picture of you was so young – thirteen I believe.  I wondered how it was in this digital age no one, not even a national network, could find a more recent picture of you.  Did no one have a birthday or holiday picture?  Were there no pictures from any family gatherings, events, special occasions?  Was there no one who carried a picture of you on their smart phone?  Was there no one who held a more recent picture of you at anytime over the past seven years?  I came to know more of you, Adam, by what I did not see.

Later I heard that the first person you killed was your mother.  This was so very heartbreaking to hold.  As just a child, you could not have known or seen what was hidden deep in your mother’s heart.  I suspect that what was hidden there was her tender love for you yet sadly buried under the frustration and desperation a mother feels when confronted with an unrelenting helplessness to help her struggling child.  Sadly, it seems you did not feel this from your mother or, perhaps you did, but did not feel worthy of it.  I am so very sorry for this and regret that we will never know.

And, that picture of you at thirteen.  I saw you clearly, Adam, already hiding – hiding your face down from the camera and my heart ached for the pain already becoming unbearable for you.  Later, a schoolmate would say you hated to be up in front of the class as you would get all red in the face.  What shame you must have carried every day going to school until, finally, home schooling was the only bearable option.  I, like my grandson, for different reasons, also so wanted to hide as a young child.  This place in my heart knows you well, dear Adam.  From me, by only God’s Grace, you cannot hide.  I see you and I know you, tenderly.

Tenderly because I’m sure you did not realize, until the moment you passed, that you were really not going to escape anything.  God’s Grace requires that all hatred and evil be purged for it is the only way healing can happen for all.  It is why the Bible tells us we must reap what we have sown.  So, for all the tenderness and understanding my heart feels for you, for all I see and know of you my brother, our Beloved God loves you most of all.  And, only in His care do I pray you will come to know the amazing Grace that purges all fear, hatred and evil so though once blind you will see. 

And, only then, dear Adam, will you see and know, fully, the tender faces of the children you killed.  Only then will you look into their eyes and recognize their fear as your fear.  Only then will you feel their deep suffering as your suffering.  Only then will you look upon them and, for the first time, fully recognize yourself.

And, perhaps then, it may also be possible for you to feel the love that is felt for you in this moment by this stranger you never knew.

But knew you.


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A Message From the Mayan Ruins

Over the Thanksgiving week Doug and I visited Belize in celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary.  We chose Belize, in part, because we knew we could visit some Mayan ruins.  We were not disappointed.  On the last day of our most wonderful week, we loaded into a van with our smiling guide, Heartfield.  A born in Belize local, we were told he spoke five languages and possessed a lifelong wisdom of the Mayan ruins and culture.  After a two hour drive through the country side, where we passed many bikers on rusty bikes, walkers as well as more than one Amish horse and buggy, we finally arrived at the first site. 

Heartfield was a wealth of knowledge and told us many great stories.  But I was most taken with a kind of freedom I sensed in his soul I had also felt among many of the locals we had gotten to know a bit during our days there.  Can’t quite put my finger on it, or fully explain it, but it was this very sense that followed me home and still informs me in unexpected ways.  There was also a kindness, again that I sensed among many, as he would offer his hand to help some of us older and more challenged ones up the ruins.  “Don’t be afraid”, he would say softly.  “Give me your full weight.”  And, with Doug on one side and Heartfield on the other, up I went!  And, all the while Heartfield would be smiling, weaving in stories of daily life which occasionally included his family of seven children.  I found myself wondering if his home was one of the few that had indoor plumbing and tried to imagine what their evening time was like with all those children without the stimulation of technology or a variety of extra-curricular activities.

At the very end of our day’s tour of amazing beautiful sites, Heartfield’s tone and expression suddenly became more matter of fact.  He asked if we had heard of the Mayan prophecy predicting the end of days to occur on December 21, 2012.  We all acknowledged that we had and then he said, “Well, I want you to know that I have it on good authority that it’s all BS.  Do you know what BS stands for?”  We were all silent for a moment until someone said with a giggle, “Bull Sh…!”  Heartfield said, “NO!  It doesn’t”, suddenly quite animated.  It means, “Book sales!” and smiled with the brightest expression in his eyes.  He went on to say how newly discovered artifacts have shown the next millennium of time and that what is really going to happen on December 21, 2012 is that humankind will be given the great opportunity to experience the possibility to begin anew…

…to begin anew…of course!  Every ending is a beginning.  Every death a birth.  So, there you have it – on good authority from the soul of Heartfield straight from the heart of the Mayan ruins.  Delivered with a gleaming smile and a tender helping hand.  I came home sensing, a little more deeply, what it means to not need to know because somehow, right there in the ancient ruins, as well as right here at my computer, I can still feel the Grace of the Beloved lifting us all up, one step at a time, higher and higher, to a final magnificent place of rest touching the clouds…only then, to simply begin again, anew.

Thank you Heartfield.    


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