Our son, Brian Eliot Holmes, CPA, was murdered in downtown Charleston on July 18, 2011. He is in our hearts every second of every single day. Today, on the fifth anniversary of his death, we are remembering him in a special way. And, giving thanks for his life and the privilege God gave us to be his parents.
As an old accountant, bank manager, and hospital financial administrator calculating comes naturally to me. There's a caveat to life's economy, however. Some things just don't add up. That's one of the lessons learned in thirty-five years of pastoral ministry and spiritual leadership. Life in a fallen world subtracts and divides with as much certainty and force as it adds and multiplies. In many instances there's a tick-mark beside the total: *now we see through a glass darkly; then, we will know even as we are known (see 1 Corinthians 13:12). In this dark world we just can't see everything. Only from heaven will the equations of life really make any sense.
So, for five years, God's promises have overridden our miscalculations and erasures about the metrics of those days. Yes, we've re-added the minutes and hours of July 17 and 18 many times in order to re-figure them somehow, to re-format the addends and negatives of those days in order to arrive at a different sum. Still, even the calculus of our dreams and wishes cannot produce a different outcome from the reality of every day. Our son, Brian Eliot Holmes was murdered at 51 America Street, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, on this day five years ago.
With all the rhetoric about the value of lives these day we simply cling to the truth that his life mattered too. It mattered to his mother and I, his sister, grandparents, extended family, to his dear wife, Katherine, and to many others. It may not have mattered too much to the thugs who sought to rob him and did eventually murder him, or even to the many kind people who live quietly and anonymously in the Eastside neighborhood where he was murdered. That it mattered to us, his family, and friends is just a reminder that every soul matters in this life. The forty-four people murdered in America every day are people with value to others but most importantly to God. So are the 3,000 babies aborted in our nation daily. Brian's murder softens us to the value of human life. Life does matter. Every one. That it would once again be a virtue of the American spirit it our most fervent prayer.
For five years I have prayed that we would not be embittered by his murder. We don't believe that a gun miraculously appeared on America Street that night, sought him out, and murdered him. We also don't blame the people who live in the Eastside or any segment of our culture for being the cohort of his murderers. The gun that killed our Brian was in the hands of evil men whose intent was to terrorize, rob, and kill. Each day we pray for justice regarding them so they cannot perpetuate this crime on others. We are comforted to know that they will face justice eventually in their account before our God, their Creator.
Five years ago today God gave me a promise. it has given us hope and solace as we have remembered his life.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up
in due time.
1 Peter 5:6, NIV
Brian's death broke us like nothing that has ever happened in our lives. We have prayed that we could remain humble in our remaining years under the conviction that God will one day lift us from our grief and heart ache. We're not sure how or when that "due time" will be calibrated or what will comprise our being lifted up. But, we are certain that this promise will happen, and we await it with great expectation.
Until then, another promise has been our bromide for the journey. It came to me the night of July 18. it is James 4:7---
But he gives us more grace.
James 4:6, NIV
His grace is sufficient and there is more, much more. Please know it.