Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tragedy -- addendum

One of my good friends here Down Range was in the clinic Monday as the shooting started, but was unarmed -- not a surprise on either account, and not a failure or lack of foresight on my friend's part.

This friend narrowly escaped alive.

After hearing my friend tell the story of what happened there, I believe my friend was instrumental in directing some other terrified Soldiers to safety. My friend retained as calm a demeanor as possible in the face of an armed assailant, when everyone else was unarmed.

My friend is someone who's been going to a lot of AA meetings for a while now.

It truly is a miracle (an unfortunately-trivialized word these days, but absolutely appropriate here in this context, in its true meaning) that my friend did not drink or otherwise do any self-harm in the aftermath of the horror.

Survivor guilt poisons rational thinking.

Understandable, but unhelpful in excelsis.

I had to go out by convoy on an overnight mission Monday afternoon, and needed to leave the scene of the tragedy as soon as I'd done my part. Thus my first opportunity to speak with this friend happened almost 48 hours after my friend's harrowing escape. The burden of what I had experienced at the clinic -- after the fact -- had seemed fairly heavy to me, until my friend and I spoke.

What my friend endured in that clinic after the first shots echoed through the building, and has had to shoulder in the meantime, stupifies me. My tangential contact with the situation pales in comparison. My friend intuitively knew how to handle a situation which would have baffled the rest of us -- to mangle a phrase my friends who go to a lot of AA meetings often use -- but my friend cannot yet see this.

Please, please continue to pray for my friend, and for the other survivors.

Survivor guilt poisons rational thinking.

The road ahead will be very, very difficult for them.

Thank you for all your prayers for everyone involved.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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Unknown said...

My heart goes out to both of you. Be well and please know that so many people are thinking of you and everyone else who was touched by this.

admajoremdeigloriam said...

Fr Tim, Thanks for sharing about the tragedy that occurred last week. It has had a deep impact even here in the north. Our prayers are with all of you.

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