Beve went back to school today.
So it's the first day since my surgery that I've actually been by myself.
Tomorrow is my post-op appointment, and I'm sure the dr. will say I'm healing at a pace. I feel better each day. That's as it should be, right?
Not what I'm thinking about this morning, though.
I'm thinking about a call Beve got from his principal yesterday.
A senior at Beve's high school was killed in a car accident. An icy road, a hill, spinning out of control. Then a fire. It was pretty awful. I'll spare you more than that.
She was a well-known, well-liked, a high-achieving, college-bound student. Probably on her way to church, Beve guessed.
Beve was on the phone much of the day. Talking with the other counselors, teachers, staff, the Mobile Response Teams (they come into school when crises occur).
Last night, he heard that a large group of students were meeting down at Boulevard Park, just to be together. Boulevard is a favorite meeting place for people, right on Bellinigham Bay, where you can watch sunsets in the summer, play frisbee, walk along the water and listen to the gulls and the soft waves of Puget Sound. It's beautiful there. Stop in at Woods Coffee for a cup, sit a bench and just be with God in one of the most pretty places in all the pretty places on our waterfront.
When E was young, her youth group used to have worship nights down there in the summer.
Last night was something like that, I think. A private memorial. Just for the kids, before adults and structure and anything else got involved. They needed to be together. "A time to mourn, as Ecclesiastes says. They'll be mourning for a long time, of course. But last night was their own, when they could huddle together in the cold. They all felt a cold many of them had probably never felt before. Death feels like that to the uninitiated. Even to those of us with the hope of heaven before us first must feel the cold of loss. Because that loss is true. And huddling together with those who feel the loss in the same way is the ONLY way to find warmth in the first hard days.
Hope will come. I believe this. I believe that God was in the car with that young girl. That He was sitting beside her in her last moments, holding her tightly even in the worst of it. And I believe that He was down at Boulevard last night in the middle of the huddle with those bewildered teenagers who are wondering what hit them. And I KNOW He's up the hill at that high school this morning, in the classrooms, the hallways, in my own Beve as they all try to make sense of this.
All across this country, indeed, all over the world, senseless accidents happen every minute. And we wonder where God is. We get mad at the senseless things themselves. I'm not talking about the evil. That's a story for another day--though maybe it's the same thing, with the same questions. I don't know. I guess that's the point. We live in this beautiful created world. A world that has sunsets and walks along the bay with gulls flying overhead. But we also live in a world where terrible things happen. Things that lead to pain and death. This is the two-edged sword of our story.
The poet Rainier Maria Rilke once told a young man, "You must learn to live the questions." Well, maybe these are the wisest words I can leave you with this morning. We must face God with our questions, The questions we each have, the angry ones, the sad ones, the unfair ones. And learn to live them.
But know this:
"For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither any heights nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 38-39