October 2, 2006 Marie Roberts received a phone call from her husband Charlie telling her that he would not be home. In that instant, Marie knew her world was about to change for herself and her three small children. Within the hour she would learn just how much when police officers arrived with the news that her husband had barricaded himself and several young Amish girls in the Nichols Mine schoolhouse, ultimately taking five innocent lives and his own, as well as critically wounding several others. Now seven years later, Marie, remarried and settled into a blended family, has chosen to share how God has guided her life beyond that horrific shooting.
It is almost inconceivable to see how one can move past such trauma and again embrace life, but when thinking about that impossibility is when you realize that indeed it takes God to orchestrate the healing that was needed in that small community. You'll be amazed that immediately family and community pulled together to shelter all the victims -- and Marie and her children were among the victims. As Marie says several times, the actions of the community and the spoken words of forgiveness by the Amish were examples of Jesus "with flesh on." While I kept stumbling with my own "need" to know why her husband Charlie chose such violence on such innocence, especially when he left behind a note saying his heart had been broken by the death of their infant daughter years before, I finally had to accept what Marie had to accept that fateful fall --- It is done, no answers will come, but God will not abandon those affected. In fact, as Marie tells it, she is shored up with strength and faith she never experienced before. Counselors help her deal with her children and she is able to bury her husband without destroy their memories of a loving father and caring husband.
Dan Monville and his children enter her life and that of her children, bringing not a "fairy tale" romance but an opportunity for stability, new beginnings, and proof again that God would not let them continue to suffer. Out of that comes love.
Anyone who remembers that terrible event at Nichols Mine School probably also remembers the media's coverage of the Amish families affected who chose to speak of forgiveness. Many of us saw the fictionalized movie based on the event. While Marie's book doesn't really cover the story of the Amish families affected in detail, you will certainly see that their decisions to speak those words are based on the same faith in action as the kindness of the larger community. It is the same faith that directed Marie as she chose to avoid media and instead seek guidance from her loving family and the Lord. Marie herself describes the book as a love story; only by reading the book can you see what she means.
I checked out ONE LIGHT STILL SHINES from our library system.