He waited for her to leave work. He watched as she got in her car and put it in reverse. He shot her in the face and chest. When her foot slipped from the brake pedal, her car starting moving backwards from its parking spot, jumped the curb, struck a tree branch, propelled itself across the street and smashed into another car. She was slumped in the driver’s seat, bloody.
If I drew a portrait of Martha, I would put a fair-haired middle aged woman across a crowded room from me. She would be gathering in her three daughters and her doctor husband. Her elderly parents would move to be closer to her. Her friends and co-workers, colleagues in her medical practice, would gravitate towards her. Her patients, who would fill much of this space, would quietly push to be closer. This space would be intermingled with friends from her faith community, people also on an earnest journey, turned to watch her. I would see sunlight from a high window light up her face. I would hear piano music like the music that I have heard so many times flow from her talented hands.
I didn’t plan to believe, but I felt belief creep into my bones with each uplifting phrase or touching musical moment during the service. Martha was part of that transforming energy. Her graceful hands at the keyboard, her humble focus on the music director, her easy smile and the inspired music filled that sanctuary with another source of healing. I didn’t know if God was loving and gracious, but my heart relaxed and my soul responded when I closed my eyes and resonated with those words.
Years since I have seen Martha: three
Distance from my home to hers: 2542 miles.
Time it took for the news to reach us: 15 hours, approximately.
Number of sentences in the email: three
Time before the funeral: 4 days
Time before the suspect was arrested: 6 days
Time since this happened: 6 weeks
Time for anger to fade: unknown
Time to understand God: unknown