Thursday, July 26, 2012

No Greater Love: 3 Heroes from Aurora

(As posted at Austin Catholic New Media:)

When I was sixteen, I had a boyfriend. My young heart was madly in love. I had also spent some time reading the Bible, inspired by my Baptist friends. One day, I came across this verse:

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:13

In a fit of romanticism, I wrote it out on a pretty piece of paper and gave it to him. “I love you this much!” I said. He looked at me like I was crazy. We were an emotional dicotomy (as most 16 year olds are) and the relationship fizzled over time.

But, that verse came into mind again today, as I read the news story of three brave men who gave their lives for their loves in the Aurora movie theater shooting: Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves.

I do not like to pontificate on national tragedies. I do not like to blow things up into grandiose ideas or gloss over horrible deaths to make a point. I am not trying to do that here. I am, however, profoundly touched by what these men did for their loves. In a split second, without thinking twice, they threw their bodies on top of their girlfriends, cramming them under seats, pushing them down, and taking the bullets to preserve their lives. They did not contemplate. They did not consider the consequences. They did not take one more look at the girl’s face to decide if she was worth it. Instead, they were all-in and shielded the ones they loved from definitive horror.

I do not know these couples from Adam.  From their photographs, they look like any young couple I might see around this college town. One decked out in formal attire, one couple in swimsuits smiling on a rocky ocean shore and another posing in front of a webcam, numerous piercings decorating their faces. I don’t know what kind of relationships they had, if they held the door open for their ladies, if they said please and thank you or had promising careers. I do know that they did not hesitate to do the good thing.

This gives me hope.

In the midst of such strange horror, God does allow a little peak of light. In the midst of so much confusion and sadness many are asking why, those three girls are still in shock, and so many are hurting. But, I think it’s okay for us to take a glimpse at this little light of goodness and consider it for just a moment.

What more random sampling of people can America pull together than a group going to the premiere of a Batman movie. Really? A nice selection of the American public, all in one room, enjoying their free time. And then one walks in to shatter everything. We have tears. We have confusion. We have anger. We have questions about society, about reality, about media, about safety. But we also have this grand bravery left behind.

Life is not perfect. These men were probably not perfect. Our world is not perfect. People struggle to make the right choices, fight to keep jobs, to make relationships work, to find love. And sometimes, it seems that today’s society makes attaining these things even harder than it used to be.
But, I’m forever an optimist. I refuse to think that it is all over. I’m not a quitter. And these men show me that I’m not alone. We really do want what is good. We really do want to be brave. We really do want to have someone save us. Or save someone else, at all cost. Don’t we?

I pray for all those victims who lost their lives. I pray for those who mourn. I pray that we all, in our gut, without a moment’s hesitation, will have that courage to love with all we have.

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

This verse was read as the Gospel at my wedding. My true love meant it with all his heart. And today I know three men who lived it.

1 comment:

  1. Lauren, I was so touched by this particular story as well. The courage and selflessness of humanity, we are so fearfully and wonderfully made.