As the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, neared its conclusion, I, like many, knew the hardest days were yet to come. I knew with a dread certainty that there would be pain no matter where one stood on the guilt or innocence question.
In the days following the trial, the same news stories would be circulated over and over, the same tweets re-tweeted again and again. And then there would be silence.
In that silence we would be left to our own thoughts. And we would feel, or try not to feel, our pain.
People who had followed the trial hoping for a specific outcome would wake up to the harsh reality of dashed hopes and the anger that helplessness and hopelessness often give way to. Victims would discover with shock that the closure they had expected was not going to come quickly or easily.
The conclusion of the trial did nothing to usher in anything resembling healing or relief, let alone justice. This blog gives me a chance to express my own pain. I endeavor not to be self-serving. I try to be fair. That is not always possible for I have taken a side. My beliefs have evolved.
I feel pain for the victims. Never before in my memory has there been such a terrible crime with living victims who have had to endure the sight and sound of many of their fellow countrymen loving the one who they believe is the cause of their suffering and loss. How awful that must be for them!
I feel pain for Jahar. I go through my day, and sometimes wake in the night assaulted by claustraphobic thoughts of his agonizing aloneness. I worry how he is handling the end of the trial and the loss of a daily routine that gave him some relief from isolation. I wonder how much more he can take.
I feel pain for those who love Jahar, his family, his friends, and those of us who carry this unexplainable burden of compassion for him. In a second letter I am still fighting for the privilege of sending to Jahar, I said this:
“A favorite passage from ‘Hong Kong’ by Stephen Coonts describes what I feel so perfectly: ‘In this city I can still feel the pulse of the earth. I can stand in the crowded places and listen to the hundreds of voices, all babbling about the things that fill human lives. I can hear the generations talking of the things that never change, the dreams, ambitions and concerns that make us human.’
I wish I’d written that. And I realize, just now, that it explains why I continue to write you. In your present circumstance, you have been removed from the connection we all need to humankind.
That grieves me, for I know the totality of your isolation is both unnecessarily harsh and excruciatingly painful. With my letters, I want not only to offer you some measure of comfort, if that is possible, but to give you something to picture in your mind and focus on when emptiness looms too large and too final.”
I must constantly remind myself that while I think nothing is happening, while I remain helpless to affect any real change for Jahar, the God of heaven, the God I have given my life to, the God I trust in because He has proven Himself to me over and over again – that God is not idle. He is on the job. He has a plan and He is surely carrying it out!
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Now is the time for faith. Faith that God knows what He is doing in regard to Jahar. Faith that God loves Jahar even more than we do. Faith that He will expose that which is hidden. (I will be writing a future post about that topic soon.)
I end this post with the same words I used to end my second letter to Jahar. It is my wish that they will encourage and inspire those who find this blog. May we all continue praying they will someday be read by Jahar with the same effect:
“There was a time in history when people would have said it was impossible for the waters of the Red or any other sea to part so people could walk across on dry ground – but it happened.
There was a time in history when people would have said it was impossible for rain to fall for 40 days and 40 nights, causing the earth to flood, killing every man and animal that was not safely inside an ark built by a man named Noah – but it happened.
My hope, my prayer, is that soon there is coming another time in history where people said no way Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will get anything other than the death penalty or life in prison. No way will that boy ever go free – but it happened.”