I sometimes think of her when I see a little girl of four or five. She was my Grandma and Grandpa’s first child. I have her name in between my own first and last, and maybe that’s why I wonder after so many years, who and what she would have become.
That day must have started out like any other. Rising early, they would have had their chores. My Grandmother had given Annie a task, to put the wood on the stove and dry it out. Annie forgot about it, as a five year old will and Grandma had scolded her. After that she went outside to play with the little boy, a foster child they had taken in.
And propped up against the building was the shotgun my Grandfather had left out. Back in those days you needed guns handy then, kept loaded for coyotes, wolves…..predators that would attack your cows, horses, chickens.
The boy picked it up meaning no harm, they just were playing after all. And he was so young himself, he couldn’t have known what he was doing. He pointed, and the gun went off, hitting Annie in the stomach and I can’t even think of what my Grandfather thought as the shot rang out. I can scarely imagine the horror of what they found.
Back then, there were no ambulances, no 911, no cell phones, no help.
My Grandmother, held her as she suffered and died. And my Grandfather, grief stricken, went after the boy and couldn’t find him. And oh how he must have suffered a lifetime of guilt after that, for leaving that gun out. I am not sure my Grandmother ever forgave him.
He died when he was only 64, of stomach cancer when I was only two. He loved me, I know this for sure. He called me his “Blonden Engel,” that’s blonde-haired angel in German and I hope that when he looked in my eyes, he saw a bit of her. I hope that I eased his pain just a little bit, this good and Godly man who always asked strangers if they knew the Lord.
And I think of my Grandmother, and how she must have felt holding her little girl and knowing there was nothing at all she could do to save her. And of the guilt she must have felt the rest of her life for scolding her that day. And I wonder about that poor boy who fled. How his life turned out……he was never found or heard from again to my knowledge.
I think of the current battle over gun ownership and gun control, and how passing laws and restricting gun ownership will never keep accidents from happening, or madmen from going on shooting sprees. The criminals will still have them.
And in the final analysis, it’s not guns or gun control that will ever save us, it’s Jesus.
Always Jesus. And no matter how hard or crazy things get in this world? He assures me it’s worth it. Because of Annie, because of my Grandpa, because of so many others.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1