Gentleness and Great Pain

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A gunman barricaded himself inside a one-room Amish schoolhouse 
near Lancaster, Pa. Then he opened fire.

Charles “Charlie” Roberts killed five children and 
injured five others before killing himself.

The Amish community responded in a way that many found surprising:
 They forgave the shooter. And, in the years since, they have grown close to his family.

That week, the Robertses had a private funeral for their son, 
but as they went to the gravesite, they saw as many as 40 Amish start coming 
out from around the side of the graveyard, surrounding them like a crescent.

“Love just emanated from them,” Terri says.

Terri finds it especially hard to accept that forgiveness 
when she thinks of one of the survivors, Rosanna.

“Rosanna's the most injured of the survivors,” she explains.
 “Her injuries were to her head. She is now 15, still tube-fed and in a wheelchair. 
And she does have seizures, and when it gets to be this time of year,
 as we get closer to the anniversary date, she seizes more. 
And it's certainly not the life that this little girl should have lived.”

Terri asked if it would be possible for her to help with Rosanna once a week.
“I read to her, I bathe her, dry her hair,” says Terri, who herself is battling cancer.

“I will never forget the devastation caused by my son,” says the 65-year-old Terri.
 “But one of the fathers the other night, he said, 'None of us would have ever chosen this.
 But the relationships that we have built through it, you can't put a price on that.' “
 

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