The Resurrection of Judge Lefkow

"As a sojourner on this earth I don't feel terribly entitled. I do believe the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. It's your responsibility to accept the adversity as well as you accept the abundance." U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow

Nine months ago, Judge Joan Lefkow stepped into a nightmare. She walked into her home on Chicago's Northwest side to find her husband and mother dead, murdered by Bart Ross, an unemployed Polish electrician with a vendetta against Lefkow.

Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune recounts the "little resurrections," like her daughter's wedding, that have allowed Lefkow, a one time Kansas farm girl and Wheaton College graduate and now an Episcopalian, to retain her faith and her sanity."

Here's a taste of how Schmich descibes Lefkow's journey:

Often in the seven months I spent talking with Joan Lefkow, I would look at her, this strong and tender woman, and repeat to myself the soul-rattling thing that when you're with her you can never quite forget and never quite believe: Her mother and her husband were murdered. In her home. Because of her job. By someone who wanted to kill her. She found the bodies.

How had it happened that the ordinary things this humble woman loved and wished for most--family, home, meaningful work--converged and exploded on one awful winter day in the middle of her life?

You could chalk it up to fate, to the inexorable drive of the actions of her life toward a single point. You could subscribe to the dark theory, "Your luck is your doom."

If you're Joan Lefkow, when you think about fate, you also think about faith. You think about the universality of suffering and the promise of rebirth. And you still oppose the death penalty.

"The wedding was a resurrection of sorts," she says in a dark wine bar on a rainy night with autumn rolling in. "A new family being created."

She's shucked off her shoes, tucked her feet underneath her on a couch, ordered a glass of Chianti. In her pink shirt and black suit, she no longer looks like the ghost who when I first met her in April had said, "I feel dead inside."

Resurrection. It's one of her favorite words. Little resurrections are the signposts she seeks out in the foreign land of this new life.

Read the rest of this story. In sparse and clear prose, without resorting to sentiment or graphic detail of horror, Schmich has told a story of the resurrection of an ordinary life.


Real Worries

AIDS has a death grip on Africa.

The North Korean government ran a steamroller over five Christians for the crime of believing.

There's famine in Madagascar, Zambia and Niger.

Tsunami victims are suffering.

Darfur is spinning out of control.

In the US, like in Europe, church attendance is dwindling, as more and more people decide that their lives are better off without God.

So tell me again why Christians ought to be worried about a gay bishop or gay marriage?

Don't we have more important things to worry about?


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