We all grieve in our own way. Everyone does so differently. Consider this part of the process for me.
A couple of nights ago, my wife's Uncle Matt was at a grocery store that was close to our home. I am not sure about all of the details in this incident but at some point a man hit the car in which Matt was riding with his hand. Matt got out of the car and this began a verbal confrontation. This man then resulted to physical violence, striking Matt on the head with his hand/arm. That one blow was enough to immediately send Matt to the ground.
He was rushed to the hospital where surgeons worked to alleviate the bleeding in his brain. They called the surgery successful in removing a clot and towards alleviating the bleeding. Later they found that Matt had suffered a massive stroke, damaging a large portion of his brain. Other complications set in and were uncontrollable. Last night around 11:30 p.m., Matt died. He was 50 years old.
The detective working on this case explained that the man who struck Matt was not a violent person. Although he had a small criminal record nothing was serious or dangerous, in the opinion of this investigator. His decision to hurt Matt was not made in self defense.
And now, two men, two families, are forever changed.
Now Matt's wife must learn to deal with having watched her own husband struck down right in front of her. She has to overcome sitting in a hospital room watching as her husband slowly passed away. Matt's parents are now having to say goodbye to a second child (no one should EVER have to bury one child, let alone 2), all within about a year. Matt's friends and family and all the people who love Matt have been wounded in spirit with his passing.
Now also consider the man who committed this act. He was already facing criminal charges for his action, and now Matt's death will increase the severity of those charges. He must also now live with the knowledge that his angry attack has caused another man his life. I have no idea how this will affect this man's spirit, but cannot imagine he could not be affected by taking another man's life.
The more I study Scripture the more I discover about what it means to have the love of God in my life. This kind of love leads me to develop a certain sense of respect for all life. We are created holy, and as such, should regard other life as equally holy. When we chose violence, and let me make no mistake here the man who hit Matt chose to be violent, we damage not only the object of our violence but also our own nature. We take that which is beautifully and wonderfully made and we damage that aspect of God's creation. But the act also affects us as human beings.
It is a blight upon our own soul. And one from which we can not easily heal. Whether we are the one who makes such a choice, the victim, or a concerned party to either of these, we are affected. As a man who spends a great deal of his time talking and thinking about God's love for us, it is amazing to me to find how quickly and easily something like violence can hurt so many people.
Now, I understand a bit about the grieving process having been through what I consider to be too many times. I am aware of where I am an am not in this process. I believe God to be equally wounded by this senseless tragedy and suffers along with us all. I believe this is why (though not exhaustively why) Jesus suffered on the cross. Jesus died to redeem the world from the scourge of violence such as this.
Tomorrow that may mean more to me than it does today. For now, I grieve over what violence has cost so many people.