The Monster Under the Window


Here in my seemingly safe little corner in Canada, I confess that I have sometimes found it easy to criticize our neighbours south of the border for what I perceive as their devotion to guns and their glorification of violence as displayed through American media. So when unspeakable cruelty and violence seep into our gentle landscape here in Canada, I have to admit that my sensibilities are shocked–first into a stunned silence, and then into a gibbering outrage that leaves me wide awake and blinking at 2:00 in the morning.

The truth is, evil is alive and foraging in all corners of the world. Ancaster, Ontario, a community near Hamilton, about an hour and half’s drive from here, can attest to that. A little over a week ago, Tim Bosma, a young husband and daddy to a two-year-old girl, a devoted family man and committed Christian, got into his truck with two men that showed up for a test-drive. Tim had posted an online ad to sell his truck. He told his wife that he would be right back. He never came home. A week later, his remains were found, burned beyond recognition. A suspect is in custody, but there are a lot of unknowns in the on-going investigation. Whatever this investigation reveals and whatever type of justice is served for the animals that committed this depraved crime, it will never bring Tim back to his family. His parents have had their beloved son wrested away from them, his young wife has had her husband stolen away from her, and his daughter will only know her father through photographs and tear-drenched stories. There is nothing in the world that can mend the gaping hole that Tim’s murder has made in the fabric of this family. Their sorrow would have been great if Tim had died in an accident, or had been taken by disease. But this. THIS was done with forethought and deliberation. This was likely some lunatics’ idea of fun and adventure, and THAT is what makes this terrible story so unbearably and intolerably wrenching. This is what pushes people into a mudslide of despair and hopelessness, a bitter sludge of anger and rage beyond words. To think of what this friendly, kind young man must have endured that night makes my throat close over. It’s hard to breathe in the face of this. I didn’t know Tim. But I have loved ones. And what happened to Tim and his family makes me realize that what happened to the Bosmas can happen to anyone. Evil is alive and foraging. I think I heard it snuffling and growling under my bedroom window in the wee hours this morning, when it was still dark.

No, I didn’t know Tim. From all accounts of him and the way this young man lived his life, he has left behind a legacy of faith, kindness, love and laughter. And although I didn’t know him, I think I can reach out and take a portion of that legacy for myself. As much as I can gather up to take along with me. When I slip towards the ugly despair and anger that have become familiar to me over the past few days, I can remember Tim, and make a decision. I can choose something else. In that small way, I can honour Tim Bosma. And evil loses a bit of its toehold.

Is that a comfort? To me, it could be. For his family, any kind of comfort will be a long time coming. This wound will never close over for them. They may find ways to live around it, but the hurt will always be there. They don’t want comforting words. They want the clock to turn back. They want their Tim.

I pray that Tim’s family and friends will find their way through this horrible landscape into which they find themselves so unfairly and cruelly dropped.