This morning I went up to The Gospel Bookstore in Berlin, Ohio to a book signing event that Eli “Small” Hochstetler arranged with Marie Monville, author of “One Light Still Shines”. In the book, Marie shares her story of the tragic events that rocked her, and her family’s world, in October of 2006, seven years ago this month. The tragedy: The shooting of young Amish school girls at The Nickel Mines Amish School in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania by her husband, Charles. After shooting the girls, Charles committed suicide. I already had a copy of this excellent book and was deeply touched by the message of forgiveness, amazing love, and hope in this small Amish community, amidst unimaginable grief and pain.
Until I read the book, I had no knowledge of Marie’s life and her story. As I began reading her story, I was surprised to discover that Marie and Charlie’s life and family, before the tragedy, was not much different than many people I know who live in our own community. Here is an excerpt from the book regarding her husband in the wake of the shooting:
“Had I been blind? Were there clues (in Charlie’s life) I’d missed – that my entire family had missed? It was a question explored in every room of my parent’s home that day. We all spoke of Charlie, comparing notes for any telling signs. But we all came up empty. Every encounter, every story, every memory painted a picture of the same man I’d known and loved for ten years. Quiet and kind, responsible and hardworking, gentle and playful with our own children and his young cousins. Those of us who knew him best knew that there was sadness as well, especially in the wake of the death of our firstborn, Elsie. But that had been nine years ago. I’d worried about Charlie being lonely, not having any deep friendships with other men, but dad described Charlie as well-liked by the other truckers and the customers, the kind of guy they joked and laughed with and were always happy to see.”
A couple of weeks ago I watched Marie on an interview on The 700 Club, CBN television network. She was asked if she struggled with bitterness and hatred toward Charles, for creating such grief and pain in the community and in her own family’s life. She replied that she saw the devastating consequences, in Charlie’s life, of harboring bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart (towards people or towards God), so she made a decision to forgive him and not go down that path.
In this book I am reminded once again, that even though it is difficult for us, forgiveness is God’s way; His ways are “higher than our ways”. Thank you Marie for sharing your story so that many might see the “light and the glory” of Jesus Christ, our Glorious Redeemer! When the blackest darkness engulfs our lives, “One Light Still Shines”.
For more reviews and information see ONE LIGHT STILL SHINES.