Wow. WOW. Osama bin Laden is dead.
This is one of those moments in history when we will all likely remember where we were when we heard the news. Public Enemy No. 1, the terrorist leader the United States has been chasing for nearly a decade since the attacks on our country on 9/11/01, is finally out of the picture.
I was here at home in the midst of a conversation with friends in a Facebook group - we were all about to sign off and head to bed - when someone posted that bin Laden was dead and the U.S. had his body. I quickly flipped the television to the first channel I could find with a news feed. And there was the confirmation.
I went numb. What is a person to feel at a time like this? I was relieved. I had goose bumps. I was cautiously optimistic - this was before President Obama addressed the nation - and my mind turned to where I was Sept. 11, 2001 (at work as a newspaper reporter), my friends and relatives who have and do serve in the military and how they would react to this latest news, how life has changed for all of us over the past decade, and whether our world will look or feel different - in a symbolic way - when morning dawns.
Sleep won't come. It's hard to look away from the video coverage of celebrations in front of the White House and in Times Square. America rejoices. But I share in the conflicting feelings some have mentioned and with which the Internet is buzzing now: as a Christian, what am I to feel? How am I to react?
Opinions will differ and many of them will be offered up by way of guidance in the days ahead. Scripture will be taken out of context and used to support all manner of reaction from celebrating the fact that justice is served to mourning the death of a human being. Me? Certainly I think we are called to pray without ceasing. Pray for our nation. Pray for our service men and women. Pray for the middle east. Pray for the dead man's soul if you can find it in your heart to do so. For even Jesus Christ prayed for those who crucified Him: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
Beyond that, I can only feel what I feel and know that I, too, am a fallen child of God. I would encourage others - particularly my Christian brothers and sisters - to look inward before joining the celebration. Turn your face to God and ask yourself what He would have you do today.
Am I rejoicing that a human being was murdered? Not necessarily.
Am I sad that Osama bin Laden is dead? Not in the least.
Right or wrong, I guess I'll find out someday. And it's not for me to judge others for feeling and expressing what they are feeling right now, too.
One thing's for sure - I will crawl into my comfy bed tonight in rural western Michigan knowing I live in the greatest country on Earth, amongst millions of people proud of their nation and the men and women who protect our freedoms - including the freedom to worship as we please and to gather in the streets and peacefully celebrate or demonstrate. When I wake up (God willing) in the morning, none of that will have changed. And for that I am thankful.
God bless America.