It is easy for human beings, in the ordinary busyness of life, to forget that nothing in this world is forever and nothing is so guarded that it cannot be taken from us in a moment.
Death is a powerful lesson of this. As most of us were going about our business last Monday morning, an incident was unfolding here in Keokuk County that soon took the life of one of our most respected law enforcement officers, 39-year old Deputy Sheriff Eric Stein.
During the week, as many people throughout the state and elsewhere remembered him for his courage, service and sacrifice, my mind flashed back to the college internship hours that I completed on duty with him between January and May 2003. He was sincere in his willingness to teach. He had great insights and always explained to me what he was doing and why he was doing it. He cared about people and about the county he grew up in and demonstrated that care in and out of uniform. I consider it a privilege to have had the opportunity to get to know him a little bit during that time.
It is a mystery why God calls some people home without warning and often under circumstances that we do not understand. Sometimes God calls the young, with so much potential ahead of them; the insightful, who still have much to teach us; the faithful, who have already offered so much to God and to the Church; the benefactors, on whom so many are dependent; those souls who bring so much light to this dark and bewildered world.
In these final weeks of Lent in anticipation of Easter, we reflect on the knowledge that the greatest tragedy in history, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, led to his resurrection — which is the greatest triumph and the greatest good in history. May God bring good from tragedy and pain that have been experienced by people everywhere.