Today’s newspaper headlines should glisten with unshed tears: “NICHOLS HILLS DOCTOR….JAILED IN SON’S DEATH”.
Nichols Hills is where money lives and breeds here in central Oklahoma. And after reading a few details — 9 years old boy, Mom bruised in attempts to protect her son and allowing myself a mere glance at the photos of the dad and son — I can bring myself to read no more.
Why God? Tell me how such a thing like this could happen? Would any answer matter? A little boy is dead. This young boy was alive on Sunday. Maybe he was happy then. I’d like to think so. Yet, sometime between Sunday happiness and Tuesday news headline, all hell broke loose. Something terrible went wrong in Nichols Hills. And it’s all over but the crying. And I am terribly sad.
I grieve the loss of this young boy I did not know. And I wonder about the irony of one who can take the Hippocratic oath “to do no harm” and do the worst sort of bodily harm that can be done to another. And to his own child? I am not consoled by my belief that this child is “now in a better place”, even though I believe it is so. How can I not, when I allow myself to skirt thoughts of the last scary seconds of this boy’s young life?
Some will ask — as I just have — why God allows such suffering to happen in the world? Why does God grant us such freedom, such power over another’s life, that human kind (or in some cases, human evil) could play God and snuff out the life of some young child — or some old man — or some whoever. Minds better than mine have written on this topic — Philip Yancey and C.S. Lewis are two. I must leave such high places of thought where angels fear to tread.
But a response does come at me like a freight train; God gives us such power so that we can make the right choices, so that we can love as we all want and need to be loved, so that we can bring up each other in the way that we should go, as the old Proverb says. God entrusts the needy to us, hoping that we will shower them with love rather than with bullets — that we will feed them when they are hungry, clothe them when they are naked and give them shelter when they are cold.
I don’t know whether this young boy died by a bullet wound or in some other way. I didn’t let myself get that deep into this real-life horror story that is worse than any horror flick ever made by Quentin Tarantino.
Forgive me Father God. For I need to go bury my head, like a baby ostrich in the sandbox, not ready for the scary sands of primetime news stories. I want to pretend that everyone lives happily ever after. And as for this boy, who now lives in the happily ever after, there is no need for pretense.
I offer this gift of words to this little boy that is no more; a boy that is no longer here at least.
And I offer this boy a prayerful hymn to accompany him on his journey. It’s a tune of Carly Simon’s, one I’ve told my son Kyle that I wish sung at my own funeral some day. It’s a great unknown song — for a great unknown little boy — a song that talks about coming home. This is the best and only way I can love this boy right now — to let Carly sing him home.