On Wednesday, February 12, Luke Batty was killed by his father on a cricket field in Tyabb, an outlying suburb of Melbourne. The tragedy unfolded further when the boy’s father threatened police with a knife and was shot in self-defence. The entire scene played out in front of horrified onlookers including the boy’s mother and a number of his friends and schoolmates. Thankfully, most of the children who had participated in cricket training had already gone home.
My heart breaks for Luke’s mother, family and friends. I have no words for their loss or their pain.
I mourn for the loss of innocence of his school mates and all who witnessed his brutal death. Things will never be quite the same for them, especially school and cricket practice.
I also grieve for the police officers who had to attend such a horrible event, witness the death of a child, and shoot a man in self defence. They are traumatised, too.
Luke was a student at the school where four members of my family work. I grieve for each of them. I grieve for his teachers and for everyone in that school community. It has rocked the whole community – and so it should.
I spent today at my school’s swimming carnival, looking at the kids having fun, playing around, swimming races, encouraging and cheering each other on… and I thought, “You know… that could be us. How would we deal with it? How on earth would we hold our school community together after such an event?”
The answer: only by the grace of God, with the love of God.
And there, but for His grace and love, go we.
I wanted to tell every one of the kids at the swimming pool today how amazing, how unique, how special they are. Most of them hadn’t heard about what happened to Luke. They would have either thought I’d gone slightly mad or been more than a little freaked out by it. So I kept my grief and my feelings to myself, save for one friend I confided in. I smiled at the kids, encouraged and praised them, and did all I could to give them a great day.
It may seem odd to grieve over someone I’ve never met and who I didn’t even know existed until yesterday, but the death of this young boy is a reason our nation and our whole society should mourn.
Love your children, people. Cherish them. Make memories with them. Nurture and encourage them. Fill them with hope, courage, strength and love.
God knows, it’s a sad, sorry, broken world we live in.