There are occasions when even the most compatible couples find themselves enthralled in a massive disagreement. It does not matter if those couples have been together for two months or 70 years; if the relationship is healthy, there will be disagreements.
I say this because while we all want to live in complete harmony, we do not operate with one brain, and as close as couples are, no one fully understands another person’s thoughts. If there are no disagreements, it is likely that one person is just saying whatever it takes to keep the peace.
So, it’s a good thing that Austin has never been threaten by a strong woman with her own opinions, and it is equally good that I cherish examining the “other side” of situations. Otherwise, we’d have never made it to almost twenty-three years because in many ways, Austin and I see the world through VASTLY different lenses.
However, Austin allows me to be myself, and I respect his need to have his thoughts as well – even when he’s wrong – and he affords me the same respect.
I say that with a smile because the fact is that I almost always get his point, just as he often gets mine. Sadly, though, this isn’t a post about keeping open lines of communication in a marriage.
This post is my attempt at coming to grips with the fact that my hometown is in the midst of grieving over a massacre that changed the face of families and the town for generations to come. I did not know Dr. Robert Lesslie and his family, the Shook family, or the Lewis family, nor did I know Philip Adams, the alleged gunman or his family.
But I am a daughter, a mother, an aunt, a friend, and a neighbor. I am shocked that events like this happen anywhere, especially in Rock Hill, SC, and like many here, I’m forced to enter the realm of asking Why? I’m forced to grapple with God’s plan. I’m forced to try to reckon with the fragility of life.
From what I can understand based on statements in news reports, comments made by friends, and from social media posts, everyone involved in this tragedy was good – and that is where Austin and I disagree. It is also where many of my readers will disagree with me. No one can kill five people and leave one holding on to life and be called “good.” That is the very definition of “evil.” And I agree. The act was pure evil.
A husband and a wife woke up on April 8, 2021, dealing with the loss of not only their parents but of their children as well. My mind cannot go to the depths of grief they are trapped in. The entire Lesslie family is forever changed, and there is no answer to the heart-piercing question: why?
Parents of James Lewis, a single father who was working to support his three children, lost their son and are now forced to simultaneously deal with the unimaginable grief of losing a child and their enormous responsibility of helping their grandchildren understand a world in which this could happen. Yet we know as well as they do that this loss is something that can never be explained.
Robert Shook’s wife and three children are likely holding a vigil at the hospital, praying that at least one be allowed to survive–that one person might provide the slightest hint of an answer. That one family may be left whole, even if forever changed.
Two other parents woke up to another life as well. Their son, Phillip Adams, is the only suspect named in the massacre, and he killed himself, taking any answer anyone might provide with him. The baby Mrs. Adams brought home from the hospital and nurtured into a man who a friend of the family told the Charlotte Observer had plans in motion to give back to Rock Hill by starting a business to provide healthy food to families who can’t afford it, instead left a small town forever changed, families forever broken, and children perpetually confused.
So, I understand when my husband says that Philip Adams was evil, and I readily admit that I do not know how I would respond if this were my family. Would I grant forgiveness and compassion, or would I seek vengeance?
Austin, well, he’s a good man, but he would seek vengeance because there is no justice to be found here. And that is where we disagree. Austin will never understand how I can be so angry at a situation, so confused by an action, and so grieved for my hometown and still say that I also hurt for the gunman and his family.
But isn’t that what the Lesslie family has asked us to do? To “….honor all of those involved in this story with prayers and compassion specifically for the Shook family, the Lewis family, and the Adams family”?
The world this family speaks to is the world I want to live in. I know I couldn’t be as strong as to seek prayers and compassion for someone who took so much from me, but I am thankful to live in a world where others can be that strong.
On April 7, Evil manifested itself. On April 8, Good answered in a statement from the family and an outpouring of love and support for everyone involved. So, while I understand Austin’s outrage, I pray one day, he’ll understand my compassion.
We need someone to blame for this, and there is no one left to blame. We need answers for this tragedy, and no one is left to provide them. We need to know that this was something that will never happen again, and no one can give us that reassurance. We are hurting, and if we will admit it, we are scared. If this tragedy can happen to them, it can happen to us. There seems little that we can do other than pray and hope.
But there is more we can do. We can listen to Dr. Lesslie’s words from an interview he did in 2009 concerning his book series, Angels in the ER. In that interview, he had said, “We’re all God’s children. If you lose that belief in the ER, you can become cynical, disenchanted, and mean-spirited. For me, that’s where faith comes in.” We can fight against becoming cynical, disenchanted, and mean-spirited and instead become the good that we want to see in the world.
I do not understand any of this. But I hope that we can live in a world that is as Dr. Lesslie knew it could be, a world where we love each other, take care of one another, and find the good in others.