Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Book Review and A Goodbye

I just finished reading The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young 3 days ago and let me tell you, it was timely reading indeed. The book follows a father through the grieving process when his child is senselessly murdered. It is a book about his healing by Papa, who we know as Abba, Lord, God the Father. It talks about how he feels throughout the process, doesn't mince words, is raw and honest and offers a different view of the Trinity and Abba and helped me to see God in a way I hadn't previously. Obviously, with our human eyes, human vantage point and human concept of time, space, reality and purpose, we can never truly understand God completely, but I feel this book deepened my understanding.

Well, its one thing to conceptually understand and quite another to be given a real life example. Its one thing to read a book about a senseless tragedy and quite another to be confronted by a senseless tragedy yourself. Its so easy to hear about horrible crimes on the news and think "that's awful" and then go about your life like nothing happened and then tragedy strikes in your people-sphere and you realize that deep down you always had this erroneous, childish belief that tragedies were things that happened to "others." I'm sure we all have things that we think only happen to "others." Well, now I am sad to say I have one less thing in that category. And its funny to me that I had anything in that category at all. I have not lived a charmed life. In fact, this is probably the best time of my life. But I have never known anyone who was murdered.

Until now. Sunday, June 5, 2011, Shannon Marie Lawrence met her ex in a bank parking lot to bring him their children for his visitation time with them. There, in front of their 2 young children, he shot her 4 times in the face. Then he drove the children to his parents house and took her to the hospital where she was pronounces dead upon arrival.

My sister drove by the bank yesterday. There was a small part of the parking lot corded off by crime scene tape and nothing else. Nothing to mark that piece of ground as cursed. Nothing to show that that spot is the spot where the light of one of the world's most beautiful smiles was brutally, senselessly extinguished. Nothing to differentiate that part of the parking lot as different from the rest of the parking lot with the exception of crime scene tape that will be removed far too soon. People will park there again, never knowing. It sickens me. It baffles me. It derails me.

There are no words. No words to express what I feel. I alternate between wanting to barf and wanting to cry and in the meantime, I have done neither and I continue to feel terrible.

There are too many questions and not enough answers. Like why did this person still have visitation when he was arrested last year and charged with stalking, assault and battery? Father or not, why expose the children and Shannon to this type of danger? Why did they meet at a bank? Banks are closed on Sundays, parking lots empty, secluded. And then there are harder questions. Like why do the good die young? That stupid song has been stuck in my head for the past 2 days. I thought it was a stupid song before, but I somehow think it even stupider now that it makes more sense to me. . . and now that its stuck in my head. Why would anyone kill the mother of their children in front of their children? Even if you don't care about their mother, you should care about your own children. Why did he have a gun with him to pick up his children? That doesn't seem like a necessary tool for that job. . . Why bother to take her to the hospital at all after you shot her 4 times in the head? Clearly he wasn't thinking logically, but that only makes it harder for people who do think logically to comprehend what he did. And the questions get harder still. . . Like has this world always been this corrupt and full of evil? Or is this just part of a continuous downward spiral? And the hardest question of all -- Why? Just why?

I knew Shannon in high school. She was in my sister's grade. I was friends with her brother. I wasn't very nice in general in high school and I wasn't close friends with her, but I did like her and thinking about her now, every memory I have of her is of her smiling. She always had a smile on her face and she could light up a room. Her smile was infectious. It was hard to see her smiling face and not smile back, but I was goth/emoish so I tried. . . sometimes even a goth like me couldn't help but smile when I saw her. She was genuine, honest, and sweet. She was confident and beautiful. Looking at pictures of her since high school, it looks like she only got better. She was a beautiful mother. When she was with her children, her face glowed.

I haven't seen Shannon since high school and I was much different then. Becoming a mom changed me, made me a more positive person, brought me closer to God. I got back in touch with her brother, Justin, on FB and I found out she had children and still lived in this area. I thought we might enjoy hanging out with our kids, so I tried to friend her on FB a couple months ago. But she never got around to accepting my friend invite on FB. And now she never will. :*(

I feel helpless and awful and inadequate. I wish there was something I could do to help anyone. I know nothing will make this better, but I wish I could help just a little bit. Selfishly, I think helping someone else would probably help me, too. But I just don't know what to do. What do you do to counteract that magnitude of evil? I don't know. I feel like a sad, lost, little child. So I pray. I pray and I pray and I pray. I pray that good will come in the wake of this tragedy. I pray that Emma and Peter were protected from what happened, that even though they were there they somehow were spared from seeing it and thereby protected from having to deal with those images in the future. I pray that Shannon's mom will get custody of them because she loves them and they love her and they already lived with her, so I think it would be in the best interest of her and them. I pray for her family, for her friends, for me. I pray for her ex. Sometimes I pray for him in a Jaron and the Long Road to Love sense of the word, sometimes I pray for justice, I pray the book gets thrown at him and prison is a horrible experience. And then I pray for me. That I will understand that I can't understand everything. That I will get through this. That I will learn from this and not be completely derailed by this. That I will learn to take more pictures, to spend more time with my kids playing and less time worrying about how clean the floor is, that every moment is precious. Life is far too short and none of us know when our time is through. I pray. A lot.

I don't know how to express how I feel any better than I have and I know I have not done it justice. And I know I need to read that book again. But right now, I'm going to pick up Rory and give her and Addy and Evie and Izzy a hug and a kiss. . . and maybe ice cream with their lunch.

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