No Mere Mortal
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” – C.S. Lewis
This morning I received news that a former Eleos student was killed. He was shot to death and left lifeless by the side of the road. There are no words to adequately describe how great a tragedy this is. I loved this student. I can’t remember a time where there wasn’t a smile on his face. I saw him and spoke with him just a few days ago. There will never be another conversation. No more pick-up basketball. He’ll never again stop by the house just to say hey … I’m going to miss him terribly.
But beyond the grief we experience at his loss, there is another grief weighing heavy on me. I’m grieved by the damned disrespect of someone who would point a gun at my friend and pull the trigger. I’m grieved by the degree to which he was devalued. Someone determined in their heart that he was no longer worthy of the gift of life. A young man bearing the image of God was left to die on the side of the road. I don’t know whether to weep or to scream. Words fail me.
And while I want to vilify his murderer, my hands aren’t as clean as I’d like them to be. And that breaks my heart as well.
I’m grieved by the ways that I devalue my neighbors all the time. I’ve never talked to a mere mortal, but you wouldn’t know it by the way I treat my neighbors. There are so many opportunities to serve and love the people around me as a way of honoring the invaluable image of God pressed into their DNA. I’ve wasted countless moments. Today, I was reminded that every moment is a gift. I know I’ll waste valuable moments in the future, but by God’s grace, I’ll take advantage of as many of them as I can. A kind word. A hot meal. An unexpected visit. A moment of time offered as a way of tipping my hat in honor of God’s image in my neighbor. These are not acts performed out of obligation, but out of joyful celebration of the fact that I have never met someone less than extraordinary. That’s a realization worth celebrating with deep acts of kindness and mercy.