© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

At Times Like This, We're Powerless

Tonight I am sifting through books searching for the tool I love: words -- words that would offer a light in a time of terrible darkness.

Tomorrow, the family of a 12-year-boy will gather to begin the long and lonely journey towards unrelenting grief and suffering as they bury their child.

Last Tuesday morning, this family prepared for celebrations. Two children -- one high school and one grammar school -- would graduate and move forward towards life. One minute the young boy was riding up and down the alley on his four-wheeler, earned through good grades and hard work; and the next -- gunshots, screams and a deadly silence would trigger a different future. 

The community weeps; people rant about the violence in Rockford. The pain will trigger strong words and outrage, yet it will subside, as all these things do. After a while, people will bend their heads, shake their shoulders, and life will move on -- except for this family whose home was robbed of a precious, beloved boy, only just starting his life.

At the end of the night I accept that, as the chaplain, I cannot fix the pain of this family. I am powerless to change anything.

What I can offer is my heart and the willingness to stand next to their pain, knowing in this moment my presence will help create a space where, one day, hope can be rekindled. That’s all I can do right now, and it will have to be enough. 

There will be time for talking.

For now, this is what happens when words fail: silence.

I’m Lou Ness, and that’s my perspective

Related Stories