The pictures and story in the local paper are gruesome. A young couple, a maid and construction worker, had been seeing each other for a few months. Pictures were posted on Facebook. It was an unusual relation, kept secret from many of the people in his life that seemed to be working. Their quiet meeting in a hotel in a seedy part of town ended up being front-page news for all the wrong reasons. Knife wounds, severe bleeding, and blood stained sheets and towels marked the end of their lives.
I realized that this story would not have made the back pages of many large city newspapers. The comparison to remember is that it is 550 times more likely for a youth related homicide to occur in the US than it is in Singapore. Events like this do not happen very often. When it does, one is visually and emotionally reminded of the evil that we can inflict on each other.
I often ignore the signs of evil. It is as if I do not want to acknowledge that they exist. Wise writers remind me that I need to pay more attention to what is going on around me. “See that man shoveling day after day, digging, then concealing, his man-trap down that lonely stretch of road? Go back and look again – you’ll see him in it headfirst, legs waving in the breeze.” (Psalm 7.15) Life is willing to remind me of the values and priorities that I hold most dear. Life is willing to offer guidance and lessons for me to wrestle with. Ignoring life’s message opens a door to ignorance, nothing more or less.
It has been a few days since the initial story broke. In reading the paper, one forgets the pictures and the reality of what happened. The story is still incomplete, in the lives that tragically ended as well as my own. Today is an opportunity to do something with the visuals life gives us. There are lessons for the taking. Nothing is dictated. Doors and freedom are within reach.