The rain falls on the just and the unjust

Posted: April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

This week we heard of the suicide of the son of Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback church in southern California. The megachurch pastor has perhaps the greatest visibility among the new evangelicals of the past decade. His son was in his upper twenties and had struggled with depression for a long time. What anguish. Who can name the sorrow?

This has found its way to the news, of course, because of Warren’s notoriety. Somewhere else this week another young man whose name we do not know took his life. The only difference was the public profile of his parents. He was not in the public eye. Perhaps his father worked at the bakery, his mother carried mail for the post office. His life ended but without a news flash. A few gathered in the funeral home to give condolences.

I thought the same this week with the murder of a young women in the diplomatic corps, Anne Smedinghoff, serving in Afghanistan. She was twenty five. She had chosen to place herself in a high-risk vocation in a high-risk place. Her idealism took her there. And it went badly. What anguish for her parents. But we hear nothing of another twenty five year old who was murdered on the same day in one of our American cities. She was walking to a bus stop, or out of a crack house, or through the park, or sitting in her living room. We don’t know her name because her life was not on display, public, much to take note of.

For every public mention of a tragedy there are hundreds of un-public ones just like it. They are no less tragic, gut-wrenching for family, filled with remorse that there are no do-overs.

So on this day, or for that matter any day that I hear of a tragedy, a public shame, a catastrophe that hits the news, I will lift up the sparks for that situation and those people. But I will, at the same time, lift up parallel prayers for the nameless, the ones off the public radar screen, the just and unjust upon whom the rain has fallen in torrents.

  1. Bless the sound of compassion. Bless the width of your heart and the reach of your words.

  2. NMiller says:

    Thank you so much for this, Tim.  It is a thought I have had with every public, “newsworthy” tragedy since the Oklahoma City bombing.  I can’t help imagining how difficult this public grieving must be for parents and loved ones of those forgotten by the majority because they were not deemed newsworthy.  It always sends me back to that Frost poem:
    “… And they, since they/ were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.”

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