Friday morning, major news stations told the story of an eight-year-old Florida boy and his call to 911. As he watched, the boy’s father shot and killed his mother, then the boy’s grandmother, then decided that he, too, would like to see what buckshot tastes like.
While this is a horrible story, it isn’t all that uncommon. Sadly enough, we’re no longer shocked by very much. After 3000 Americans died on September 11th, 2001, we may never again find the innocence to find ANYTHING shocking. But, I digress…
As the Today show played the tape from the 911 call, I was most struck not by the horror of the act, but by the sheer honesty of the 911 operator. This little boy was obviously highly traumatized, but still had enough wits about him to make the call.
The panic in his voice was only overshadowed by his question to the operator: “What’s going to happen to us?”
The operator, a mother herself, bypassed all the comfort and compassion for a truthful answer: “Honey, I don’t know.”
How come it is when there’s a problem, we feel it’s our job to minimize the problem and comfort the hurt? This is usually thought to be accomplished by comforting words like, “It’ll be all right” and “Everything will work out.” Yet, what if everything won’t be all right? What if there is something so horrible that we’ll not be able to recover to the level prior to the trauma? Is everything going to be all right for this little boy? Nope! His parents are both dead. Nothing, NOTHING is going to change that fact.
Again, the operator’s compassion, and gut-honesty, is a lesson for us all.