Motorists approaching Charleston on billboard-lined I-26 learn a lot about the area: where to stay, where to eat, what to do and what to drive there in.
But they also learn about grace and forgiveness. At least two billboards now feature a message from Mother Emanuel AME Church, known nationally now as the place where nine people at a Bible study were shot dead last June.
Members of some victims’ families, given the opportunity to condemn accused killer Dylann Roof, opted to forgive him as the nation watched. They did so despite reports that he motivated by racism.
The generous outpouring of support for the church and the victims’ families was a feeble but earnest attempt to mitigate the their horror and hurt.
But here comes that grace again.
The people of Mother Emanuel want to thank people for their “many acts of kindness.” They put it on billboards to make sure the message is delivered.
Nothing about their hurt. Nothing about the hideous, hateful circumstances.
Nothing about the challenge they face mending the hearts of an entire congregation.
The kind of sincere thanks that the rest of the community yearns to say to Emanuel for demonstrating unadulterated kindness and forgiveness.