As with everyone else this week, our hearts are broken over the horrific tragedy that has befallen Charleston, SC. But in the aftermath, I have to say I’m not all that surprised this has NOT gone the way of Baltimore or Ferguson (which it certainly could have). Instead, the citizens of this fine town have demonstrated an amazing measure of restraint and poise. More than that, they have taken the evil intent of this misguided young man (to incite a race war) and done just the opposite thing — put on a display of unity, mutual support (regardless of race), and an almost unthinkable degree of mercy…even toward the killer himself.
As I sat and listened to many of the victims’ family members speak directly to the killer in court yesterday, I could hardly believe my ears. One after the other, these hurting Christian believers poured out two things that are rarely seen at the same time: Excruciating pain mingled with tender mercy. I found myself marveling at their reaction; quite sure I could not have done the same myself. It was among the most remarkable examples of God’s love at work in human beings I’ve ever seen.
Well before this, Charleston, SC has been one of my favorite cities, and definitely our favorite romantic getaway location. My wife and I spent our 10th anniversary there and absolutely fell in love with the place. We’ve easily been back 20 more times since then (have just celebrated our 38th). I decided to use Charleston as a main setting for one of my highest-reviewed novels, The Discovery (see pic above). It’s a beautifully restored old Southern town, with block after block of huge southern homes, historic churches, charming cemeteries (they are to us anyway), antique shops and art galleries, and some of the finest restaurants we’ve ever visited.
And the people? Well, you’ve seen what they are like all week long. If you want to do something to show your support for this wonderful city, may I suggest you plan a vacation or getaway to Charleston very soon. Tourism is the #1 source of revenue for the town. You can’t go wrong spending money your money there.