I’ve just read the amazing story of Martha Mullen, who arranged for the body of the elder Boston bomber brother’s body to be buried in Doswell, Virginia. It’s a courageous act, after all the controversy that burying Tamerlan Tsarnaev has created. A Boston Globe interview says:
“[The protests] portrayed America at its worst,” she said in an interview with the Globe this morning. “The fact that people were picketing this poor man [Stefan] who was just trying to help really upset me.”
Mullen, a licensed professional counselor who has lived in Richmond for most of her life, said she was sitting in a Starbucks Tuesday when it hit her: She could be the one to end the controversy.
“Jesus says [to] love our enemies,” said Mullen, who holds a degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. “So I was sitting in Starbucks and thought, maybe I’m the one person who needs to do something.”
Sometimes I wonder about Jesus’ words, if he even knew some of the things we ourselves know, about pluralism, community, boundaries, and loving people. I wonder if Jesus said, “Love your enemies,” because he understood that there is no such thing as enemies. There are just other humans, living and dying with the choices they make.
Isn’t that the lesson of Jesus’ life, in so many ways? That we are going to live and die with the choices we make? And that perhaps, today, “Maybe I’m the one person who needs to do something.” Maybe, when you see a car accident, you’re the one person who needs to do something. Maybe, when you see someone picking on someone else, you’re the one person who needs to do something. Maybe, when you see injustice in the world, you’re the one person who needs to do something.
It took a lot of courage to do something this big. And it’s probably going to take a lot more courage to take the criticism that Martha Mullen will receive. But I, for one, applaud that courage. And wish I had some of the same.