I was told I should write this. (Why do I feel the need to deflect blame at the outset? Hmmm….)
THE DAY AFTER I HEARD about the football player who shot the mother of his child and then, in front of his coach and others, turned the gun on himself, I thought of his teammates.
“It’s hard to reconcile the teammate you knew and the tragic events that happened…,” one said in the story in the New York Times.
Yes, that’s the challenge.
The “perfect teammate,” another said. How could this happen? How did we miss it?
At times like this, our ability to trust others takes a hit, but that’s not all. Our ability to trust our own instincts also takes a beating.
We may never be able to trust anyone again, but even more, we’re not sure we can trust our own sense of where people are and what’s going on with them. And it’s this latter thing that may prove the most unsettling.
These are tough waters to navigate and it can take a long time.
But I digress…
* * *
HERE’S THE THING:
If any of those teammates could have him back for just one minute, what is the thing they would want to say to him? What is the thing they would want him to know?
Would it be “I love you, man. I don’t understand all that was going on with you, but I love you”?
Would it be “I am so angry at what you did. This was preventable. Why didn’t you tell one of us you were trouble?”?
Would it be….what?
Possibilities are endless. There is no right or wrong answer. Each person has his/her own thought-whirlwind. But if there was a chance to say something, what would it be?
In light of all that’s happened,
in light of what’s now known,
in light of the tremendous crime…
Where exactly am I with a brother’s sin?
Where exactly am I with my brother?
Given the chance, what is the thing I want him to know?
* * *
If there’s one thing I know about processing a grief, it’s that being able to express what you wish you could say to the person who’s now gone is a tremendously huge step in the healing process.