I'm not going to mention his name. Not going to call him a name either. Just what he was: young white male. What he did: walked into a church, sat among 13 or so prayer service attendees for an hour, accepting their kindness, and then shooting 9 of them dead.
One of the dead was named Sharonda Singleton, and these are her children Chris and Camryn pictured above. The picture is from a memorial service for their mother at the school where she was a coach. What Sharonda's children said at that memorial was this: "We're full of love. We already forgive him."
They were able to communicate a grace that's impossible to explain just by simply saying those eight words unflinchingly, with humility, with a detachment from the world and its furies and anguish. They weren't hiding or lying by saying those words. You could tell it was a part of who they were, who their mother willed and helped them to be. It is a moment I don't think I'll ever forget, just that snippet of news footage shining out of all of the nastiness and horror of what happened. The simplicity of their grace and mercy.
I'm not religious. But I really want to be sometimes. And I felt like this is one of those times when I can be, when I feel God for real.
The young white male has been quoted as saying the church members that night were so kind to him that he almost could not go through with his plan. But he did.
Here's a Mahatma Gandhi quote: "I know, to banish anger altogether from one's breast is a difficult task. It cannot be achieved through pure personal effort. It can be done only by God's grace."
There you go. A perfect flesh-and-blood example of God's grace. Those two beautiful kids, letting us know how foolish and horrible the world is by not being a part of it, and looking out with love and forgiveness to allow all of us a chance to witness how God is beyond understanding and yet possibly the only way to stay completely sane.