When someone dies, there are plenty of loose ends. Some are hanging by a thread, easily pulled away, dealt with and discarded. Some we fear that if we pull the whole thing will unravel, so we leave them well alone. Others are so tangled together that it is hard even to see the ends, to know where to start when someone’s life ends.
Maybe that is why there has been, as a friend noted last night, little commentary during the day since the apparent suicide of Ariel Castro. It is not because we didn’t notice, or think about it; when he came into the kitchen to kiss me goodbye yesterday morning, it was the one piece of news that my husband shared, without comment. I had already seen the news, and was standing over my iPad wondering what it meant, what it meant for those three young women, for the daughter born in that house, for their families. I thought of his other family. How would they tell one another? How would they tell the girl? It was impossible to imagine how any of them are feeling, because what they went through, what he put them through, is unimaginable. We don’t even want to try too hard.
I didn’t worry a whole lot about Ariel Castro himself. Of course, the prison system will need to make sure and certain that it did the right things by him; those loose ends can’t be left laying around to trip up anyone else. But the loose ends that he carries with him are in God’s hands, and I have perfect trust that God knows just what to do with them; that God is doing God’s own right thing by him, and I don’t need to second-guess God.
Perhaps then, the loose ends that tangle and trip us up are our own. We allowed Ariel Castro to represent to us, to carry for us all that robbed us of our own innocence, our own childhoods, our own freedom; but he refused to hold them; he has let them go. There has been an abruption, and we are left with loose ends.
So I will commend his soul to God. I will continue to pray for his victims. I will continue to pray for all prisoners, of all kinds. I pray for our own loose ends, that we may not come unravelled. Pray for me; I will pray for you.