Since late last night, I’ve been watching the news about the death of Osama bin Laden. I’ve also been watching the reactions to his death. I’m struggling with what I see. The celebrations, I mean.
I remember in the days after 9/11, like the rest of the country and perhaps the world, I was glued to my television. I went to church that next Sunday and was struck by a phrase my pastor used. He was angry, as we all were – angry and probably scared. He said during the service something about wishing Afghanistan would become “Lake Afghanistan.” When I heard those words, my heart broke again. That he – or we – could wish death and destruction on an entire nation of people pained me. Similarly, watching the celebration of bin Laden’s death pains me.
I believe in the mission of capturing and even killing that man. But what is the right response to that mission being accomplished? Is it celebration? It is cheering and hooting and hollering? I don’t know. My gut says no. Maybe “right” is too strong a word. Maybe there is no “right” or “wrong” in how we respond here. I just don’t know.
I can understand the celebration, but I cannot join in it. I grieve for his life and the lives he took. I am grateful for the work of this nation in stopping him. But celebration feels as wrong to me today as hatred felt in the days after 9/11.
I am not at Ground Zero today. I wish I could be. In honor of that place and the lives that were lost and the efforts that this nation has made towards the restoration of peace and security among its people, I sit in my little home and light a candle. And I say a prayer. Because I simply don’t know what else to do.