When you have an event take place like the accident that claimed the lives of a young mom and her three children, there is a period of shock that benumbs the senses. Often, though not always, this is followed by a time in which we question. Why? Why them? Why now?
Last week, our small community was rocked yet again by a tragedy that in some ways touched us all. At a time like this we really do learn that we are connected. So many smaller communities were affected. The firefighters and paramedics who responded to this call were shocked to learn that the mom was one of their own...a paramedic who had trained at this department. The High School community once again had to deal with the task of comforting students on the sudden loss of classmates' loved ones.
Our Catholic brothers and sisters had once again to plan a funeral for a mom and her children. Not that long ago they had a similar accident that affected their congregation. And we here at Faith Center mourn with a young dad who already experienced the loss of divorce and the trauma of war, only to experience the deaths of his entire family. We mourn with a grandmother who lost her grandchildren so suddenly and violently.
When I was in New York after Sept. 11th, I accompanied family members, 50 at a time on a ferry boat ride from the pier building where the city set up relief operations to Ground Zero. This would be the only 'grave' they would ever have. There would be no remains to bury for many of them. Something occurred to me to say to them. It went something like this:
There aren't words. There is no grand design I can point to. Where is God? Why did He do this? Or allow this? or not stop this?? No, He didn't cause this and I have no idea why these died and we survived. Where is He? If you can make yourself do it, look just beyond the horror of the debris and destruction and look at the thousands of people from all over the country who have come to help find your loved ones. Maybe, just maybe, God arranged all of this love to comfort you now. Many were comforted by that thought.
Why that corner? Why was there a dump truck there at the exact moment she skidded? I don't know. I do know that our God sent the most loving professional team of responders to the scene, and the most caring staff at the hospital displayed great care and compassion, and people like you displayed His love to those who grieve.
There is a lyric from a Christian song I once heard, "And when you can't trace His Hand...Trust His Heart."
Copyright 2006 by Jim Jenkins. All rights reserved.