When the Unthinkable Happens

Have you heard that expression before?  The unthinkable…what would you do if the unthinkable happened…I’ve heard the expression and I’ve always considered it absurd.  If something is ‘unthinkable’ would we even be able to identify it, should it happen?  And wouldn’t we react differently with each ‘unthinkable’ happening?  Makes me kind of dizzy…consider the unthinkable – how can I possibly consider the unthinkable?  It’s 2015.  What could happen that we cannot think of or that we haven’t thought of?

After the dust settled from this peculiar conversation I’d tortured myself with, it occurred to me that, in retrospect, I am able to identify the unthinkable.

You see, in 1927, in Bath Township, Michigan, on the afternoon of May 18, 45 people left their homes that Bath Elementary School, 1927morning not knowing they wouldn’t return.  It would have been unthinkable to them.  Of the 45, 38 were children at the Bath Elementary School, where their janitor, Andrew Kehoe, had planted hundreds of pounds of dynamite.  Mr. Kehoe was on the school board, served as the town clerk and was a local farmer.  He was angry over property taxes being used to fund the school.  He was facing the possibility of losing his farm.  So, of course, he used dynamite and blew the school up.  With people inside.  He killed his wife and burned down his farm.  And blew up his truck.  He was inside.  Five other people either in or near his truck were killed also.  One of them, Kehoe’s target, was the school superintendent.  So, you see, if one of these children had been yours, a tragedy of this magnitude would have been unthinkable.  Especially in 1927.

Now, 88 years later, we’ve seen far worse.  Mass shootings and bombings.  Both domestic and foreign terrorism.  It still seems to shock and surprise us when it happens.  Why?  Is it still unthinkable?  Not if you have children in school or a spouse at work.  Not if you attend a place of worship.  Not if you’re a tourist.  Not if you shop, or eat, or enjoy a movie.  Not if you’re black.  Not if you live in the United States in 2015.

My spouse drives a good bit and it’s not unusual for him to have a firearm with him.  No worries.  He’s licensed to carry.  He’s even a licensed instructor.  So, a few weeks ago we were on our way to church, when I surprised myself by asking him if he would consider concealing the handgun inside during church services.  He surprised me by saying that he had been considering it.  He parked the car.  We put on our name tags.  I picked up my prayer book.  He locked the firearm away in its safe and we walked into church together.

I had told him years earlier that it would be unthinkable for him to carry a pistol into the house of God.  How naive.  It doesn’t seem so unthinkable anymore, now that I’m trying to decide which unthinkable would be the least painful to live with.

Oh, God, make haste to save us.



Author: Mom Sees All

Mom sees all. Certainly more than I'd like to. But I'm more than a Mom. I'm a Christian - don't leave yet - a wife, a daughter, a sister, a homemaker, a voter. It's really that last hat that should give you pause. I have opinions. I have a brain. I have a voice. I have a vote. So do you. I'm trying to be the person God wants me to be - along the way, I'll sell real estate.

4 thoughts on “When the Unthinkable Happens”

  1. A thought-provoking post. As mortal beings, we never know when a morning will be our last. An untimely death may be the result of violence, illness, or accident, one preventable if our world decides its worth the trouble. The second worthy of our efforts to forestall and heal. The third often up to the whimsy of chance. I don’t have answers. But with an awareness that my time here is finite, I attempt to choose love over fear. I believe that’s ultimately how we take charge of a dangerous world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can choose to love all people, and choose to defend those same people from the evil that lives in our midst. Fear has no place there. My post was a reminder that we have no promise of tomorrow, so we must treasure each day as if it might be our last.

      But we are to be watchful. He warns us there are wolves among us disguised as lambs. A shepherd protects the flock. With his life if need be. That’s what Christ did – He knew the plan for salvation.
      God’s command is to love one another. He didn’t say give into madness. Perhaps I misunderstand your comment, perhaps I misunderstand God’s word, but we are diminished when we stand still and let evil work against us. There was evil in Charleston. There was evil in Boston. Columbine, Aurora, Jonesboro, Killeen, Auschwitz, The World Trade Center, Armenia, and, yes, in our Confederate South in 1861. Do you think the good people of Charleston would have allowed a wolf into their circle had he not been disguised? There are so many instances when someone, just one discerning person, could have made a difference. Maybe next time, because you can bet there’ll be one.
      So, I’ll quote Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
      God’s peace to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, sorry. I hope you misunderstood me. I wasn’t advocating doing nothing in the face of evil. I’m actually a huge fan of Edmund Burke’s quote. I can’t view my comment, so I can’t check my wording.

        What I was trying to say is that while we must stand up to evil, we also must spread love, because that’s where the healing takes place. I believe that the root of evil and its atrocities is fear, and love can prevent fear from blooming. Love is preventative medicine. We have this one life in which we can foster love and compassion, or do nothing but react and deal with the consequences of a world in the grips of fear.

        Hopefully that makes sense. Thank you for clarifying.

        Liked by 1 person

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