I’ve been trying to write unapologetically lately but this post may make it very, very hard to do that.
I don’t doubt that, by now, you’ve heard about the death of Osama bin Laden.
I found out via Twitter.
Then I started to see all the tweets and Facebook statuses come through. Most of it were jokes. Some were pretty funny. I saw one about Chuck Norris coming back from Pakistan. Another one about Donald Trump requiring a death certificate. I turned on the TV immediately and tuned into ABC. George Stephanopoulos almost said “Oba..” and then corrected himself to say “Osama”. I thought that was pretty bad. And funny. There were a lot of “wows” and celebratory sentiments. I heard people were doing victory chants outside the White House and President Obama came on the air to deliver a heartening message about how Bin Laden was killed.
About 10 minutes passed and then something happened. I noticed my heart racing a bit faster and then my eyes getting teary. Then the tears started to stream down my face. And before I knew it I had both hands to my face and I was weeping.
What in the world is going on with me right now? I’ve learned to be much more attentive to my emotions so I asked myself that question. Something about celebrating this moment and joking around about this moment just didn’t feel right. Then I started to formulate some concrete thoughts about why I was having what seemed to be an odd reaction to this monumental point in American history.
Basically, I was incredibly sad about the death of Osama bin Laden. I was sad that we were celebrating the death of a person. I was sad that he had been the cause of so many deaths. I was sad that killing a man was the source of our victory and celebration. I was sad that his death doesn’t mean the end of terrorism. That quite possibly, he had died without receiving the grace of God. Because if God’s grace extends to me, a sinner, then why does it not extend to him? Or does it, and are we not willing to see that because of the occasion? Does the fact that he killed tens of thousands of people around the world, Americans and others alike, make him a greater sinner than me? Somehow, I’m convinced in my mind that it does not.
At this point, I suppose we can get into a discussion about sin, heaven, hell… and justice and revenge… that there is a time for war and time for peace… but I wonder, is this a time for war or is this a time for peace? Is it our responsibility to take revenge on our enemies? Is it our job to take the matter into our own hands to serve the purpose of justice in this particular case? All I know is that I need to be honest about this overwhelming grief that I feel about this whole thing. About the state of the world and of the human condition. I don’t have answers and I don’t need to know the answers. I just know it makes me sad.
I’m in no way discounting the efforts of the American government and the heroes of the U.S. military that have tirelessly worked to protect and preserve our country. Nor am I dismissing the insurmountable grief of those who have lost loved ones on and because of 9/11.
I’m just really sad and wonder if there is more to this story than just a victory for the United States.