I've come across a few TV screens, facebook screens, whatever with the sentiment that we must never forget these 32 who have been lost at Virginia Tech.
Well, folks, as you probably know, the real number of dead at the Blacksburg tragedy was 33. There seems to be some sort of unspoken I don't know what that the shooter, being wicked, would not, of course, be mourned.
But like most ministers, I've learned everything worth knowing from members of the congregations I've served.
So let me tell you about Annie (name changed to protect those worthy of sainthood). Annie's much loved 16-year old niece was standing in her own family's kitchen, Dad and Mom in the living room watching TV, siblings in their rooms doing homework or whatever, when Annie's niece was stabbed to death by her boyfriend with whom she had been trying to break up.
Annie flew to her niece's town, sat in her niece's closet to breathe in her niece's scent from her clothes, and wept. Then she got up, and went to the former boyfriend's house to console his parents. After all, she told me later, we had all lost a young person we loved very much. Yes, their son was still alive (in jail awaiting trial), but they too had lost their son, that is, they had lost the son they thought they had, they had lost all the future they had so far envisaged for their son, they had entered new, and very lonely territory. Annie went to them to make sure they knew someone understood and cared.
Wow. Having learned from Annie there are other angles of vision one can choose to have in oh, so many situations, I so want us to remember there are not just 32 families grieving the events at Blacksburg tonight, but 33. And that one of those families may have almost no support at all.