One Year Later…

From Anita M. H.
There are some dates which will always stick in your mind, ones that you’ll remember for years, maybe even the rest of your life. January 11th will be that for me, because that’s the day I found out that a good friend of mine had died. That isn’t when it happened though. The actual event took place some time in the evening of January 8th. On that evening someone who meant very much to me, who saw me through some of the roughest years of my life, was brutally murdered. That is something I will never forget.
Until it happens to you, you can’t quite understand what it feels like to lose someone in such a way. Even though I was half way around the world when I heard the news I felt like I may have been right there, the emotions were so strong. Grief, intense grief, and a feeling of loss. Shock, shock not only because it was a murder, but because she was murdered by someone she knew well, someone I also knew. I can’t hardly think of anything more horrific. Anger, the anger was brief. How can you be angry with a dead person? He’d killed himself after commiting the murder, and is now in God’s hands. The woman herself would have forgiven him. I know that. She also would want me to.
Now that a year has passed I find myself remembering the way my friend lived rather than how she died. Her vibrant and warm personality drew others to her. She was loving and open. You always felt she was there for you and that she cared. I remember her eyes and her smile, her infectious laugher, the way she tried to cheer me up when I was feeling down or left out.
She wasn’t a saint. With so much wonderful words written about her it seems as though we’ve made her out to be. I also remember her faults and failings. She was human like the rest of us, but the love she shared is indelible and one day when I’m gone I’d want to be remembered in the same way. I’d want those wonderful qualities she had to be true of me as well. And maybe by trying to be a little more like her, and letting her traits live on in those of us who knew and loved her, she won’t mind if we canonize her a bit.
And now I want to touch on the darker side of the subject—the reason why she was killed. Though Angela had left our group a very embittered young man believed that killing her would bring him some justice for wrongs he’d supposedly suffered as a member of the same organization. Nothing could be further from the truth and you’d imagine anyone with sense could see that he was obviously more than a little crazy, and yet others of his kind have sought to vindicate the crime and hold him up as a victim.
He was a victim in a sense, but not in the way they wanted to portray it. He was a victim of lies and hatred—feelings, thoughts, and ideas fed to him by the very ones who would now seek to excuse his actions, and use this incident as fuel for their never ending attempt to tear down our group.
However, God can and does continue to use even the greatest of tragedies to work for His greater purpose. Now, one year and nearly 500 postings later, it is obvious to the most casual observer that this has done anything but that. A random browsing through the many articles written by numerous young people both in and out of our group will show that this has only strengthened our beliefs and brought about the realization that in the words of Gamaliel “if this work be of man it will come to naught, but if it be of God nothing can overthrow it.” No, this hasn’t brought the end. Rather it’s brought us all together, and confirmed that we’re still here, still going, still fighting for our cause. We’re still standing. And for that I know that Angela’s death was not in vain.