I must stop setting my alarm to the news instead of the blaring alarm. Not only do I (now) have a tendency to sleep through the alarm but having news filtering through your brain as you're waking up leads to some truly bizarre dreams. It's hard to know what is real and what isn't when you dream like that. Last Thursday, the host of the show we listen to in the morning was talking about plagues of bedbugs in hotels. That totally fried my Thursday, just from the weird dreams it gave me. Today was worse. Today they were talking about Matt Maupin.
What to say and how to start it?
Matt is a local boy, as the Wikipedia reference will tell you. What it doesn't begin to talk about is the effect that his capture had on the area around here. The yellow ribbons all over the area don't say it all. The mentions of Matt and his family on business and church signs around here start to touch on it. The all-pervasive sense in the area that people were praying for his safe return (against all the odds that it would probably not happen) and were there to support his parents in their hope that he'd "walk off the plane". The pictures of Matt on the walls and on the employees at the Sam's Club where I shop and where he worked don't get to the heart of it, but they put a human face on the hopes and the prayers of thousands of strangers who were straining to hope that Matt would come home, alive, to his family. Matt is finally coming home, but not as was hoped.
I knew it was a long shot, but it doesn't stop you from hoping and praying. I am mourning today but that doesn't even touch the pain that his parents are feeling today. I can't imagine. Part of the pain that I feel is the pain of praying for something for years that doesn't turn out the way you'd hoped. Part of the pain is the recognition that it could have been someone I'd known personally, someone I'd touched, hugged, fed. Someone I'd grown up with. It could have been my brother. It could have been any of my friends who are in the service. This time it wasn't. It was Matt Maupin. His parents and friends finally have closure, but surely not in the way that they'd hoped.
As I was struggling to wake up this morning, the morning show guy made mention of something that Matt's dad said, "My heart sinks but I know they can't hurt him any more."
What else can you say to that?