What do you do with tragedy?
I was thinking about my friend Aunty Joan this week, as I remembered and blogged about times people had been kind to me throughout my life. It was nice to relive some of the times she was kind to me, because there were many.
Some people just connect with children, and Aunty Joan is one of those. I always thought it was a shame that all but one of her grandchildren (and she only has 4) lived in a different country to her. I love my own grandparents and I certainly wouldn't swap them, but boy, I would have loved to have had Aunty Joan as an extra grandma!
So it was completely devastating this morning to read on facebook that dear Aunty Joan's 19 year old grandson - the only one who lived in the same country - was killed in a motor vehicle accident.
By all accounts he was a very special young man - gentle, kind, and full of faith. He will be greatly missed, by all the family. (And even though I'm only talking about Aunty Joan here, the whole family is also very special!)
I went and gave my children extra hugs this morning, just because they are still alive and still with me.
What do you do with tragedy? What do you do with death? What do you do with the death of a young man who had his whole life ahead of him, who was kind, loving, smart, hard working and full of potential? What can you possibly say to make it ok?
There's nothing that can make this okay. It's a tragedy. But tragedies happen every day because our world is broken. I'm not someone who thinks things can magically 'get better' in life if we just try harder, or get more education, or even get more hugs from parents (although these are all good things.) The world is broken and bad stuff happens.
The only good news I can see is that God exists. He knows the world is broken - he didn't break it, by the way - and he's most of the way through fixing it, by sending Jesus to take the brokenness and sin and evil on himself.
The only way I can find comfort in the untimely death of a wonderful young man is knowing that he has gone to meet his maker, and because of his trust in Jesus, he'll be warmly welcomed there. And I know that his mother, his grandparents and his many friends will see him again - in a perfect, fixed world where tragedies don't happen and all the tears will be wiped away. I know that kind, wonderful Aunty Joan and the whole family will be able to keep going with dignity and love and graciousness through unspeakable pain because they knew that their grandson and son loved Jesus.
It's days like this I'm glad I believe in God because if I had to say "Well, it's random chance and he's just going to become part of the ground now" I think I might not be able to live.