Monday, August 30, 2010

Sad Thoughts on a Monday Morning


Yesterday, an LDS bishop was shot and killed in Visalia, California. I would expect to be shocked and saddened by this news, but when I read about it yesterday, the story hit me like a ton of bricks. For several hours, I couldn't get this good man out of my mind. I still can't. Thoughts of him keep running through my head, sitting there at his desk, hard at work on a Sunday afternoon, probably looking up helpfully to assist the stranger who had just walked into his office (directed by a friendly church member). I can't help imagining how he must have felt in that moment when the visitor abruptly pulled a gun on him and used it. I can't stop thinking about his congregation...his wife...his family of six children. The tragedy of it all is devastating, cruel, unjust, unnecessary.

Every member of the Church must be grieved by this turn of events, and many who are not members of the Church as well. We're human beings, after all, and most of us care deeply about one another. Yet this feels surprisingly personal to me. It resonates to the extent it does is because, as I read about what had happened, my own husband was also at church, sitting behind his desk, hard at work on a Sunday afternoon, looking up helpfully to welcome every visitor and offer what assistance and comfort he might provide. Like Bishop Sannar, he was giving of himself with no expectation of monetary or other reward, taking time away from his family and whatever Sunday pursuits he might enjoy to serve others.

My husband, like other bishops, is a busy man. He was busy with his career before he was called to be bishop, and he is even busier now. Having two jobs requires a lot of sacrifice. Like other men who fill this volunteer calling, he gives freely. Often, he gives until it hurts...but he does it gladly, without complaint and with a smile. The young bishop in Visalia had only been serving four months, but I'm sure he was smiling, too.

Today, I am praying for Bishop Sannar and those who loved him. His life was precious; his loss is immeasurable and unexpected. May every one of their hearts be comforted.

(and ours, too)

28 comments:

jen said...

This also hit me hard, since Brad would have done the same.
It's a scary world. And you'd think a bishop would be "safe," you know?

GrannySue said...

Oh my word, I lived in Visalia for 20 years. I am shocked and saddened.

Dixie Mom said...

I had no idea that happened. I'm so saddened for that family. It's such a sacrifice to have your Dad/husband spend long hours as a Bishop...and then to lose him. So sorry...so sad.

Momza said...

We've been talking about this too--I worry that this is going to become more prevalent as people lash out against the Gospel and the Church.
So so sad.
Thoughts and prayers for this good man's wife and six children.

Nezzy said...

Oh my, how very tragic is this. My prayers are with his family and the church family who loved him. I just can't imagine.

God bless you and your dear husband!

yaya said...

As a member of the Church whose Husband has served as a Branch President on three different occasions, this just gave me chills. I know how much they and their families sacrifice and what wonderful men the Bishops and Branch Pres. that serve all over the world are. I'm so sorry for this family and will say a prayer for them and all who serve in the Church. As I've said many times, we are all just volunteers in this, God's Army. Who would have thought that something like this would happen?

thefamilynichols.com said...

Sue this is such a sad story... as I read it last night it hit home and I though of your sweet husband and all the wonderful bishops and leaders i know. I am grateful for your perspective and will continue to pray for his family and all families in his position that the Lord will bless and comfort them in this scary time!

Catherine said...

I can't get this family out of my mind. I saw the news last night and it just makes me sick for everyone, especially his wife and kids. So so very sad.

Jackie said...

Oh that poor family. How tragic.

Mumsy said...

Oh, my! This is so sad. I will be praying for his family and the church family as well. Hugs

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Sue this is so terribly sad. What a senseless tragedy and painful loss for so many. His family and friends will be in my prayers today for sure.

Karen said...

I read about this today too and my heart breaks for his family both home and ward.

Keeping them and all of us in my prayers.

karen said...

I hadn't heard about this? Where did you read about it? So terrible and sad. I've had the thought that perhaps we should all be a little more careful in how we view strangers, and that in itself is tragic. I hope you and Dave are able to come to terms. Just be careful, won't you?

Amy said...

I hadn't heard about this either. Of course, I don't follow the news closely. What a horrible thing to happen! His poor family and children. My heart breaks for them. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. Does anyone know why the man did that? Why he decided to shoot that bishop, or any bishop? Not that it matters, it is still a sick thing. So incredibly tragic.

Cherie said...

I had not heard about this.
It is shocking. It is scary.
Did they catch the guy? I am going to have to look up the story.
Oh this man's poor family.
My mind is reeling...this is awful.

Jamie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story, I hadn't heard about it. How sad and how shocking. I just can't fathom the world sometimes. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to join my prayers with so many others by spreading the word of what happened.

michelle said...

Beautiful post Sue. I kept thinking about our own bishop, and thinking about the deep grief of a family. Apparently they just blessed their baby recently.

Such a sad, sad thing.

For anyone who wants to donate to help the family, you can go here:

http://pledgie.com/campaigns/12975

michelle said...

(I know the person who set this pledging process up personally; I can vouch for his honesty.)

Laraine Eddington said...

This has affected me all day. My husband is a Bishop and the thought of the kind way he would have welcomed someone into his office, just like this Bishop did is haunting.

Karen Mortensen said...

Thank you for this post. Very good thoughts you shared.
I used to worry about this happening to my husband while he served as Bishop. (he was released in Jan)

Darlene said...

Oh my gosh, I just found out about this tonight. Dick found out this morning on the internet and told Jayne, but forgot to tell me. He just read your post tonight as he checked this morning before you had posted. I am just sick about this,as everyone is. I suspect that somehow the church will figure out some means of protection or security. They will almost have to because there are so many copycat things that happen. We will certainly remember his family in our prayers, as well. So so sad.

Stef said...

My dad is one of those men too. What is this world coming too. What a sad thing for a family to have to go through.

Joy For Your Journey said...

My husband sent me the story this morning and it made me sick. I feel so bad for the poor wife and her six little boys. It is so tragic. I too have a husband who spends a lot of time at church serving in his church calling. And all the bishops in our stake are good friends. It really shook me up to think that the poor bishop's wife was at home, supporting her husband and thinking he was safe and then to have this happen. My thoughts and prayers are certainly with them all.

Jill said...

I hear you Sue. I have been feeling the same way. As soon as I heard, I cried, and I don't normally do that. My first husband was shot and killed like that and I know some of what is ahead for this young family. All 6 of those sons will grieve in their own way...even their baby, in time. I went to a few sessions with a therapist the year my husband was killed and I was told there is only one thing harder for a child than loosing a parent, and that is loosing a parent to murder. But I also know this family will be blessed immeasurably.

My name is PJ. said...

It's absolutely horrible, Sue! You want to think that, in a world riddled with violence, the church would be safe.

Did the shooter offer a reason for this heinous act?

VK said...

This is such a terrible tragedy. You are right, these men are just trying to do the kind thing by their service.
My first thought was that it was a Prop 8 hater that thinks the church is a bunch of bigots, but sadly it was probably someone who felt his life had been irreparably damaged by the loving judgement of one of these servants.
Pray, pray, pray.

Lourie said...

I almost cried when I saw this on the news. I prayed for that family and the ward he served in. I thought of my own Bishop and was suddenly scared for his safety. Everything you said, is exactly how I felt.

Em said...

Beautifully said. Almost too much to take in.

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