This morning in his sermon Jimmy challenged us to turn off the noise and pray. I did that on the way home and my prayer turned into a question fest. I asked God Why?
Why have so many people I love had to die young? What am I supposed to learn from him in all of these deaths? Why do some people go through life without ever losing family members, and we have lost so many? What have I done to merit these losses? Get the idea; I had myself a full-blown pity party. I went home this afternoon in tears. Maybe that's why I have noise around me all the time because when I'm left in quiet, I lose my mind.
Tonight I watched 60 minutes and saw a story on the people who live in the Congo. One woman had lost her husband and three children to war and was then raped by a soldier? Every day is a struggle for survival, for food. I got my answer from God. That woman didn't do anything to deserve her fate any more than I did. Sin entered this world, and we are living proof that sin has consequences.
My method of survival in all the deaths in my family has always been to look for the sadder story. When I was grieving my mom's death 13 years ago, I had a girl in class whose mother had died when she was a freshman. I felt blessed to have had my mother for 41 years. When Phyllis died (by the way, I am now the age she was when she died) we had a sixteen year old boy in our school with testicular cancer. I saw him weekly sitting on the basketball bench wearing a sock cap to cover his bald head. I kept thinking of his twin brother whose fear of losing his brother so young was palpable. His parents were facing the worst possible tragedy, and I kept wondering how they were maintaining their faith and sanity.
Daddy was 83 when he died, and he went quickly: four days from a stroke to heaven. I was reminded of people who live for years after a debilitating stroke and celebrated that Daddy and our family didn't have to endure that. When Linda died, her chronic illnesses had handicapped her for so long that I had to celebrate that she was in heaven with perfect eyesight, no longer blind; with a perfect body, no longer bound by arthritis and excess weight. When Jason died, I couldn't imagine a sadder story. The first message I received from God was the day before Jason's funeral. Our former principal and his daughter happened to come to the funeral home when we were there. His daughter is 28 years and has never seen, never walked; she has experienced life in a body bound by cerebral palsy. She requires full-time care that her daddy now provides for her. Her communication with them is limited to signals and a few words. I was blessed with a healthy son who lived life in a healthy body for 33 years. Lesson one.
Lesson two. I received a card the week after Jason died from a family in Kansas who knew Jason through NCHA. Their only child died the April before after a four-wheeler accident. I have two other children to push me back into life. I can't imagine the emptiness they feel. Lesson three. In October I began communicating with a lady from Elmore City whose 14 year old daughter was killed in an auto accident. Her 17 year old son was driving the car. Such heartache for them all. They had to grieve their daughter and help their son survive the guilt. I think God put this "looking for the sadder story" in me. He knew the day I entered this world what I would face; he knew I would need an extra dose of faith; His Holy Spirit spoke to my mother during my childhood and said, "Teach her my Ways. She's going to need them in her lifetime." Thank you Lord for taking care of me in advance.