Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Greater Love

I knew it was out there somewhere.

Goodness, I mean. God.

He does exist, He does come to us, even in the smoke and horror and confusion of a day like yesterday. He was there just as He was on 9/11, when many demanded where He had gone. They could not see Him, understandably, through the flames and the carnage. But He was there in the firefighters who ran into the burning buildings, the AT&T operator who prayed with Todd Beamer, the shoestore owner in Manhattan who stood on a debris-strewn street and handed out sneakers to women who ran right out of their stilettos as they fled.

And so I knew that goodness would find its way through the cracks of those barricaded classroom doors as death and terror pressed in. I did not have long to wait.

My dear The Readers, look upon the face of sacrifice and dignity. This is Holocaust survivor and Communist resister Professor Liviu Librescu, an Israeli who was murdered in yesterday's massacre at Virginia Tech. While his students jumped out the windows, he braced his 77-year-old body against the door to give them more time to run. His physical strength did not last him long. His spiritual strength will far outlast any of us.

Professor Librescu met final peace while fighting evil. He was a light, a literary, academic, Godly light, in a world which could have easily poisoned him against his fellow man. He could have become a taker, as did the shooter, also a stranger to this country. Instead of caving inward towards darkness, the good Professor chose the opposite direction. He chose to give-- teaching, marrying, fathering, writing, editing-- he gave and gave, until his final moments on April 16, 2007: Holocaust Remembrance Day.

in awe at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com


Monica said...

I felt exactly the same when I read about him. A man who survives so much hatred and suffering, only to be murdered by some idiot kid.
My heart breaks for his family.

Monica said...

We lost some of the world's best and brightest this week. It is all the more tragic that some of those we lost were leaders in their fields who gave of themselves to teach the next generation. In the case of Professor Librescu, he gave of himself to save some of that generation. This man's unselfish bravery will be remembered. Here is a man who made difference with his death as well as with his life.

stacey said...


Monica said...

Other Monica, although I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment, I think the biggest tragedy of all is that we can't just dismiss this as an act by "some idiot kid". I know "some idiot kid". He's the one who dented my car door in the Kroger parking lot and didn't leave a note. The killer this week was a broken kid. Somehow, somewhere this kid was broken and would not, or could not, get help. Evil found its way in through the cracks.

Chelsea said...

Thank you for that beautiful post. My husband and I both got chills.

Monica said...

I was not dismissing it at all. I just couldn't find the words at the moment. I have seen many broken kids and tried to guide them...some it worked, some it failed horribly. I am currently on administrative leave due to the fact that I cared too much. The student I tried to help felt like I wasn't giving her enough of my time, (she required ALL of it). She started some evil, evil rumors which admin. took to be true although all evidence points to the contrary.
I am seriously thinking of not teaching and going into the ranching business. Cows don't bitch about their kids, and calves don't talk back.

ShannJ said...

What an amazing man . . . what a terrible loss. So many bright lights extinguished by one senseless act of rage. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them.

red pill junkie said...

It keeps amazing me how events like this can bring out the very best and very worst in man.

Thanks for such a wonderful homage to this hero.


Jules said...

No fair.

You just made me all teary.


anne, a reader said...

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

This old man, who had seen true evil early in his life, faced it again at the end of his life with courage. His name cannot be honored enough.

Anonymous said...


I graduated from VT in May. My brother and two of my best friends were there the day of the shooting. My fiance graduated from VT in 2005 and had Dr. Librescu for a class. My fiance said the fact that Dr. Librescu was such a hero, even in the face of all of this evil wasn't surprising - that was just how he was. He truly was a gentleman who will be remembered by Hokies for a long time. Your previous post regarding the shooting expressed sentiments I think many of the students are feeling as well. Universities should be a holy place of learning and this shooting has taken away that innocence.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, I'm so sorry. I was hoping my The Readers had escaped the tragedy, but it seems that it's tough to find someone who wasn't. Prayers to your fiance and his VT family. It must be so difficult for the alums as well.

mike marchand said...

Professor Librescu was going to be the keynote speaker at a conference in June. In Taiwan.

Thank you for this, MB, as it seems like the rest of the world has bizarre priorities. I already know more than I could possibly want to about the man who murdered Dr. Librescu and 31 others. I don't care about that disturbed lunatic. But when he sent a package of DVD extras to NBC News, those stupid, stupid people broadcasted it. It's bad enough that his name will be in the history books; now he's a movie star whose brutal nihilist messianic complex will be the inspiration for God knows who else.

I'd like to submit a rule for media organizations: that for every new detail, no matter how relevant, about someone like the evil filth who destroyed 32 souls this week, that they must also tell us one detail about every single one of his victims, like the one I used to start this comment. Did first-year international studies enrollee Lauren McCain have dreams of getting married in Paris? Maybe Master's student Daniel O'Neil decided to focus on environmental engineering to help discover cleaner sources of energy. Tell us about them.

To hell with Cho Seung Hui. The life of Liviu Librescu was infinitely more interesting, and his death had infinitely more strength and power than that demented coward.

Jenib said...

MB, I cried when I read about Professor Librescu. My family is from that area and some members have worked for VT in the past. I have not been to Blacksburg in a very long time but my memories are of a place that was more like a hamlet and things like this just didn't happen there. I guess it does happen anywhere now. Is there no safe place anymore?

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