An Open Letter to the Linnons
Dear Brion and Erin,
You don’t know me, but I have been praying for you since last Saturday.
The blog writing I do each day has been difficult all week because this letter was rolling around in my head. Thoughts and prayers that just couldn’t find appropriate words.
The truth is, there are no appropriate words. Not now. Not from anyone.
I believe it is safe to say there are a few thousand people in the Butler area who would echo the following thoughts.
Many of us have never met either of you, but we have learned in the past week that our circle of friends crosses yours. There is certainly less than six degrees of separation. That is true of most people in Butler and it is one of the great things about living here. There is a sense of community that draws us together in a time of need.
Most of us don’t know how you feel. We can’t. You will understand when we say we are grateful for that. But we do wish we could help.
We live in a society that finds grief to be uncomfortable. We’re often not sure what to say or do. We may choose silence over saying the wrong thing. Or, from well-meaning but unknowing hearts, we may say something insensitive. Please understand all of it comes from a place of kindness.
One of the best and most difficult aspects of life is, simply, that it goes on. The sun still comes up, the Earth still spins in orbit, most of us return to our routines. On days when the truth of that is overwhelming and you don’t want to take your head off the pillow, we pray you will think about the outpouring of love and respect for Ethan at school, at different sporting events, on social media.
It surely wasn’t unexpected – you already knew what a special young man he is.
You may, however, be surprised by how this wave of love has touched so many of us who don’t know you and never met Ethan. The influence he had will continue to ripple in the lives of everyone he touched, and everyone they touch. It is not an exaggeration to say you won’t fully know how Ethan changed this world until you see him again.
And we know that may feel like little consolation today, when life looks almost nothing like it did a week ago.
So we continue to pray. For both of you, for Connor, for Hannah and Nicole, for everyone who will miss the effervescent presence of Ethan Alexander Linnon. We pray you will take comfort in the promise of salvation and the assurance of eternity together. We pray you will feel God holding you close to Him and close to each other. We pray you will, even through tears, see Ethan every day in both expected and surprising ways.
And we ask God to remind us – in a few weeks or a few months – to lift you up again. And again.
Many of us don’t know you. Most of us can't know how you feel.
So we do what we can, which is send love and prayers. And we want you to know that #ButlerStrong is a sentiment we also share.
May God bless and comfort you.
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You can see earlier entries below this blog or in the sidebar under 2015.
Beth Painter is, among many other things, a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!