Last weekend, a sad and tragic incident took place in our area when someone out for an early morning walk, was stabbed by a delusional man. The suspect had been hearing voices for the last 18 months telling him to kill someone. Finally, he obeyed those voices and stabbed the first person he saw when he exited his apartment.
The victim was wearing earbuds listening to something on their smartphone oblivious to the world around them and fell prey to the madness of the suspect. The victim thankfully survived the knife attack and the mentally challenged man was arrested later in the day.
The victim has the right to live freely in any way they want. I am sorry that a beautiful Sunday morning walk was interrupted by a senseless act of violence. While we want to honor the freedom of another person, there is something to learn from their story.
We need to be aware of our surrounding reality. Cutting off one of our senses (hearing) by wearing earbuds in a public space is mentioned by people in the security and survival business as a way to increase your chance of becoming the victim of a crime because you are not able to hear the attack coming.
The same is true in our spiritual life. There are two realities. The spiritual reality that surrounds us and must always be discerned and a false reality we try to fill our spiritual ears with to mask the things we don’t want to hear. There are a plethora of offerings ready to fill our ears with rage, malice, and anger that will deafen us to the calls for peace, justice, and honor. In that condition, we can walk by the very people God wants us to touch because the sounds of a false reality have drowned out the sound of their plea.
The day of the knife attack both parties were hearing voices. The victim was innocently listening to the sounds they thought would enhance their morning walk and suspect was being coaxed by something malevolent, dangerous and delusional. The victim and suspect met at an intersection of sorrow because neither one had a grasp on their surrounding reality. Be wise in what you allow to fill your ears. Your life, both naturally and spiritually, depends on that choice.