Yes, even a prayer for the man who engineered the horrible, tragic, beyond-words terror attack that caused the catastrophe that prompted the leap.
When Osama bin Laden was killed, my feelings were complicated. Because of the way I am made, I find it difficult to rejoice in other people's deaths, even if they have turned into evil. I did not feel sadness about his death, but I did feel sickened by the way people celebrated it so loudly and triumphantly.
|Reading of the victims' names at the 9/11 memorial|
This morning I read that the parents of Martin Richard, the Boston Marathon bomber's youngest victim, are arguing for a life sentence without parole in lieu of the death penalty. The reason is to "end the anguish of a continuing trial" and years of appeals, but perhaps they also have decided that revenge is fruitless.
As Brian Doyle writes, "But there must have been a shard of holiness in that man, at least originally; there must have been a small shriveled soul once..." Doyle beautifully captures the complexity of terror and evil, and the difficulty in retaining any shred of humanity if we cannot find some capacity in ourselves for forgiveness and redemption.
Prayer for Osama bin Laden Yes Even Him the Stupid Murderous Slime
Because if I cannot pray grudgingly ragingly reluctantly furiously confusedly complicatedly for his shattered soul, what is the point of praying at all?
Yes, even him, the man who murdered thousands of innocents, among them Christine Hanson, age three, and Dana Falkenberg, age three, and David Brandhorst, age three, and Julia McCourt, age four.
Among them Dana's sister Zoe, who I am absolutely sure was huddling her little sister in her arms as the plane exploded. Even him, the man who cackled in his cave when he heard of the success of his plans. Who cackled at the roasting of small children.
But there must have been a shard of holiness in that man, at least originally; there must have been a small shriveled soul once; maybe there was some small shivering moment much later, as he sat wrapped in his robes in Abbottabad watching himself on an endless video loop, the narcissistic ass, when he felt a flicker of shame at what he had done, at how he had wasted his life, at how he had endangered the very faith he so adamantly insisted he was defending. I hope so. I pray.
I pray that somehow somewhere sometime he wept at his copious sins. I pray that his dark energy was dissolved by the Mercy and cleaned by love and sent to redeem itself as the engines of insects and birds and tiny fish in clear pools.
I pray that I am right and there is a Forgiveness bigger than any slime and that somehow in ways I do understand but believe in with awe and not a little fear that You have found a chamber in Your heart for even him. Even him.
And so: amen.
Here's more information on why I chose this focus for the A to Z, and you can read all my 2015 A to Z posts here. I hope you enjoy the celebrations of the miracle and muddle of the ordinary!
You can buy the book at Brian's favorite local bookstore, Broadway Books, at Powell's Books, or on Amazon. Brian's work is used with permission of Ave Maria Press.