TV news often begins by reporting violence that occurs during the day or week.
It’s part of the news, but I hope that it doesn’t make us immune to violence.
Occasionally we hear about violent acts that affect us more than usual because they involve someone we know. The 9/ll attack affected many Americans in various ways. So did the shooting of a 5-year-old boy in Beloit on Jan. 22. Beloit is sort of my second home town.
Around New Year’s, the Sauk Prairie Star newspaper’s editor resigned after almost 11 years. A stranger asked him to name the most memorable article or articles he ever wrote. He said that he gave a somewhat lame answer.
After reflection, he gave a fuller answer. in his farewell column he wrote that he has written about numerous celebrities, but doesn’t remember much about them.
The stories he remembers most are about everyday people and how they handled their good and bad times. He especially remembers writing about Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas Anderson, who died in Afghanistan on March 13, 2006, and the inspiring way the Sauk City–Prairie du Sac community honored him and comforted his family. He remembers too a few stories that failed, but helped him grow as a writer.
The story that he remembers most was about his teenage daughter’s friend who was a friendly, easygoing, pretty girl. She went to west Washington state to spend the summer with relatives. While there, she went for a walk and didn’t return. Her worried relatives called the police. After three weeks of frantic searching she was found in a garbage bag, dropped in a remote area as if she were garbage. He had a difficult time seeing through his tears as he wrote about her murder.
He added that he lived for three years in western Washington, where the people were as friendly and welcoming; yet in their midst is a monster who committed a grave sin of disrespect.
We learn to respect others from our parents, grandparents and significant others from what they teach about respect and from the respect they show each other, us and others. The once extremely athletic grandfather of a possible future hall of fame basketball player said that he tries to teach his grandson to respect women.
Once when Mother Teresa was interviewed by TV reporters, she said, “I see that this studio needs Christ.” In my opinion the world needs Christ because a key part of his message is respect for others. He taught his apostles to love one another as he loved them and to love even their enemies. He forgave his executioners from the cross.
Let’s try to respect each other the way Christ respects us and those he encountered. A little respect, like my mom’s chicken soup, goes a long way. It nourishes others, youth and even ourselves.
Lange, the retired pastor of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Hazel Green, lives in Platteville.