A California woman killed by a lion accidentally caused her own death. In April (2013), Fresno County closed its investigation of 24-year-old Dianna Hanson’s death by calling it an “unfortunate accident.” Hanson failed to secure the door to a feeding cage where a lion was sitting while she cleaned an adjacent area. The 550-pound Barbary lion escaped from the partially closed cage and struck her. She died immediately from a broken neck. Her father took solace in the fact that she died doing what she loved.
By contrast, a Texas inmate’s death in April was anything but accidental. Richard Cobb was convicted of capital murder in the death of two women. Before his execution, Cobb said, “Life is death, death is life. I hope that someday this absurdity that humanity has come to will come to an end.” Then, just before the lethal drug took effect, he shouted to the warden, “That is great. That is awesome! Thank you, warden! Thank you (expletive) warden!”
Now consider Heather Abbott, a 38-year-old Boston Marathon bombing victim in April. After a doctor amputated her left leg below the knee, she told reporters, “I really haven’t had a moment yet of being devastated.” She says she’s focusing on healing, not anger, and hasn’t given the bombing suspects much thought: “I don’t even know how to pronounce their names.”
Theologian Frederick Buechner was right: “Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”
Where is anger tempting you this morning? How could you redeem suffering for good? (DJS)