Monday, May 23, 2005


1. An unexpected and undesirable event, especially one resulting in damage or harm.
2. An unforeseen incident
3. Lack of intention

This happened weeks ago, back when my laptop was fried and blogger was not being helpful in getting me my password.

One of my best friends has parents who are missionaries in Africa. One day his father (Jon) and a friend were driving down a road, and two little girls just ran right out of the woods and in front of the Jeep.

One second the road was clear, the next, there were two little kids in front of the car.

Jon tried to stop in time. He couldn't.

He was himself injured, but he refused medical attention, wanting to sit with the girls in the ambulance.

They both died.

As soon as Jon was released from the hospital, he was taken to jail. He was utterly devastated. He spent the night on a hard jail cell bench, not worrying about himself, but grieving for the two little girls.

For days everyone who knows and loves Jon was worried about what would happen to him. Would he have to go to prison? As a US citizen could he be extradited to the States?

I was terrified for Jon. He's a sweet man who has dedicated his life to helping the less fortunate. He has four children, and two grandchildren, not to mention a loving wife and friends all over the world.

At one point, I started thinking about how, had I seen on the news "An American man hit two little girls with his Jeep in Africa this week." I would have been so upset. I would have said something about how Americans are so inconsiderate in foreign countries, how the driver was probably drunk...all my sympathy would have been with the families of the children. I would have given no thought to the driver himself.

My heart broke for the families of the girls. It would have made so much sense for them to be filled with rage, to demand some awful punishment for Jon. How can you be gracious and forgiving to the person who took your baby's life away?

Jon was released to go to the funeral. He told their families that he knew he couldn't expect forgiveness, but wanted them to know how truly sorry he was.

They forgave him.

They told him that they heard how he tried to save the girls, how he stayed by the children. They understood that it was a tragic, tragic accident, but it was just that. An accident. They will not press charges.

Jon is home now, but he claims he will never get behind the wheel of a car again.

Every time I hear of something like this, I will think of Jon, and how we never really know what happens unless we are there.


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