Tragedy…when you least expect it

KC linebacker Jovan Belcher

KC linebacker Jovan Belcher

This week as I was beginning to teach my class, someone called my attention to a hand raised toward the back of the room.  My heart dropped a bit when I heard, “What do you think about that situation in KC?”  I did not have a plan to discuss the murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher, the linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday morning.  I am also serious in my commitment to do the best I can with any question raised.

After some initial stammering to buy time, I began with observing it was a horrible and tragic event with  no good or right answers.  A professional athlete in the prime of his career killed his girlfriend, the mother of his three month old daughter; then drove to the stadium; talked with his coach & other team officials; finally turning his gun on himself.  In similar situations, I have heard folks say that it is all in God’s plan.  I recoil and reject any idea that a benevolent creator could plan such a tragedy.

I think it is OK to acknowledge that sometimes there just is no answer.  Sometimes there just are no right words.  Some situations truly can’t be fixed.  Sometimes we stand at the abyss with nothing to say.  We are not weak or defective or impotent because we find situations that we can’t solve.  We are human.

I wonder if Jovan would have made better choices if he had remembered his humanity.  He was a huge man.  Truly the biggest man on campus and admired by everyone.  To most of the folks he met, he was a hero.  So many little boys wanted to grow up to be just like him.  The biggest and baddest guy around.  He had a beautiful girlfriend, a lovely daughter, fame, and money.  He had what everybody is striving to achieve.  He destroyed the most important things that he had.

I don’t know why.  The investigations are ongoing, but no matter what they find…they will never really find any answers.

I hope that each of you will take a few moments this week to let the folks around you know that you care.  Even the biggest and strongest among us might need a bit of help and encouragement.  Even when we discover problems that we can’t solve, we can be there.

A little girl got home from playing late.  Her mother was unhappy and asked why she was late.  She explained that her friend had crashed and broken her bicycle.  Mom exclaimed, “You shouldn’t have stayed.  You can’t fix a bike.”  The little girl replied, “I know, but I could help her cry.”

Have a great week.

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4 thoughts on “Tragedy…when you least expect it

  1. cftc10 says:

    Certainly a tragedy. I send my condolences to all affected. I think tough that with everything that had occurred he would have done this deed and then attacked police and made them kill him.
    The people who attack guns do so only showing part of the story, In the UK guns have been outlawed many years and they still have crooks with weapons, not only that but if these robbers with guns want what you have do you think the police can get there in time ? They can do pretty much anything they want. Here in Florida there were 2 armed people recently (one with a gun and the other a bat) that entered a busy internet cafe gun drawn when a elderly citizen who had a permit stopped the attack! What would have happened if he wasn’t carrying?
    People with highly emotional thoughts or bad thoughts will always find a way to work their will!
    If we ever truly become civilized then and only then will there be a change!

  2. […] Tragedy…when you least expect it. […]

  3. Paula Henry says:

    It makes no sense at all and as you said, answers will not be forthcoming – there will always be an empty question mark! I love how you ended this – sometimes all we can do is help someone cry!

    • I got some training early on about helping folks in tough situations. I was taught that what we say to folks in trouble is not as important as listening to them. We called in the ‘Ministry of Presence.’

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