It's hard to believe that it's been five years since one of the worst tragedies and subsequent acts of grace took center stage in the rural fields of Pennsylvania.
Five years ago Sunday, Charles Carl Roberts IV entered the West Nickel Mines Amish School in Lancaster County, killed five children and wounded five more before killing himself as police frantically tried to get inside.
The Amish directly affected by the shootings responded in a way that still remains foreign to many people: the way of forgiveness.
It was an immediate and responsive act done without thinking about it. For these Amish, forgiveness was and remains a way of life.
The grace and forgiveness shown by the Amish of Nickel Mines was the subject of a recent conference at Elizabethtown College on "The Power of Forgiveness."
Donald Kraybill, an Elizabethtown professor and co-writer of "Amish Grace," a book about the shooting and forgiveness, read a statement from Christ King, one of the parents of the Nickel Mines children.
Four of the wounded children are doing well, King said, while one - Rosanna King, now 11 - suffers the consequences of brain trauma, according to a story in the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era.
"Emotionally, it has been a roller coaster ride the last five years for everybody, but it seems as if all are doing as well as can be expected," King wrote, according to the newspaper.
The note didn't speak about any residual hostility against Roberts.
Kraybill talked about forgiveness and its implications.
"Forgiveness doesn't necessarily lead to reconciliation. It might just mean letting go. ... We are prisoners of the past until we forgive. Forgiveness brings freedom," the newspaper reported.
The forgiveness of Nickel Mines resonates not only because of what still seems like an abnormal response but also because it's a response needed in a world today with so much social, economic and political upheaval.