Tuesday, December 12, 2006

When Tragedy Strkes....Twice or Three Times

I didn't post yesterday. My day was spent watching people cry, seeing a nurse try to put a positive spin on distressing news, coloring with a child to keep her busy, smelling that smell, contemplating life and just being there...or trying to be.

A friend's mother, a young woman of 64, fights for her life in unstable Critical Condition in the hospital. What happened? A stomach virus gone awry is the current theory. This is the second time in as many months that a friend has been stricken with such an illness, usually a routine if miserable experience. In both cases, the women got horribly dehydrated. One had a seizure. The other cardiac arrest. Both cases happened so fast, faster than you'd imagine.

I don't know if the viri that I see around are worse than ever, or if these two particular women were stressed and immune-compromised. It could be both things. Either way, it's scary.

My friends mom, who is also my friend, is our pastor's wife. She is five months away from retirement. She is bubbly in the effervescent Sprite not Vernors kind of way. She's a worrier.

She's had lots to worry about. Four years ago, her son's wife died with an undiagnosed heart problem only ten days after she had given birth. A brand new baby, the second grandchild, with no mother, a grieving son, and her own grief. It has been a tough four years for the whole family.

And now this. Lightening has struck twice.

I've been struck twice, three times actually. Well, no, four times. It was a really bad decade. Existential questions abound when these things happen. She's lost so much. She's just feeling better. The family has suffered so. It just doesn't seem right. What is God doing?

What is God doing?

I don't know. If you believe that God has a purpose for each of our lives no matter how short or long, God is doing something. We just don't know right away what it is.

My first reaction to these times is "What am I supposed to learn?" I search for meaning in the mess. I've always found meaning...albeit sometimes years later. Sometimes, the meaning was big, life-changing philosophical shifts. Sometimes, the meaning was small. Always the meaning was crucial to my walk in Faith. Without the meaning, I would continue on my more blinded path, continuing to stumble in the darkness. As time has gone on, my path has gotten brighter and easier to see.

When going through my "challenge decade" as I've come to call it, I wondered, "Did God just lift the protective hedge around my life ala Job?" It certainly seemed that way. At one point, I felt like I was in a wrestling match with the Devil himself, refusing to disbelieve God against all odds.

Drawing nigh to God, seeking His healing presence, drawing upon the strength of the Holy Spirit, being comforted by a community who loves you, remember that our suffering merely reflects the torment our Savior experienced, all these tenets sustain us through times like this. But the most radiant thing is the hope that lies within of Salvation. One day, there will be no more tears, no pain, no death. Today we are fragile, fallible humans. Tomorrow light and eternal life.

Please pray for my friend Ellen. Please pray for her family. Please pray that they will be sustained by their Hope and comforted in their faith. Life is so short. It's worth living it today.


Anonymous said...

You've written this piece very beautiful as you do when you are in a contemplative mood. I'm so sorry about your friend and I will certainly pray for her as well.

How is Brittnay doing? I've been praying for her.

I know some don't believe that "human suffering" brings us closer to God. Somehow, though, I believe it does.

Christy're said...

I'm sending up some prayers for her.