It seemed normal enough to me. It was a regular Friday, November 10th, 2006. I went to work, went to dinner, came home and watched some TV, then went to bed.
Only to be awoken at 12:30 a.m. by a friend of mine POUNDING on my door. He had driven over an hour out of his way to deliver the news to me in person. A 12-year-old cousin of mine, Jordan, had been involved in an accident earlier that evening, when she ran out into the highway and was hit by a car. She died instantly.
If you'd like to read more details on that particular weekend, you may click here.
I'm not sure my life has been "normal" since then. Oh sure, I've gone about my business, and carried on with my life. But it's not been "normal" in the sense that it's different than it was before. This sudden and unexpected death of someone so young still, at times, seems somewhat incomprehensible to me; the fact that she was literally here one second and gone the next is something I still can't quite wrap my brain around. At the same time, it has given me a whole new perspective on my faith.
I was not necessarily as close to Jordan as I had been to other family members that I'd lost in the past. But before, I had lost grandparents, not a 12-year-old relative. And the death of my grandparents was gradual. Though not necessarily easy, because it was expected, it at least made sense. Not so, with Jordan. I saw my aunt and uncle and their 14-year-old daughter mourn her death. I'd never had to see a parent mourn the loss of their child. Even now, the only thought running through my head is that it's just not right. It just didn't make sense to me.
I love the thoughts that Keith shared in a comment on another blog not too long ago. He spoke of a time when his life seemed most difficult and the fact that at that point he started doubting. But "what made sense was the book of Job. While religious folks were touting the end of the book as proof that God wants believers to be rich and comfortable, it amounted to only a couple of paragraphs of happy ending. The rest of the book spoke loud and long about the fact that God doesn't make sense. You can't understand Him. He lets bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. And it doesn't change the fact that He exists and He cares and He wants us to keep seeking Him even when it doesn't make sense anymore. Job made sense."
That speaks so incredibly powerfully to me. Because my world never made less sense than it did on that following Monday, when we laid this young cousin of mine in the ground next to my grandparents. I couldn't help but think, "So what now, Lord?" Interestingly enough, I received my answer Wednesday evening. In our Singles class at church, we had been studying the book of James, and that week, we just so happened to be on the verses in James 4:13-17, which speak of our lives being a “mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Our minister’s encouragement to us that evening was to continue to have faith in the will of God and to continue to do good.
But not only was this circumstance a challenge to continue in faith, even when it didn't make sense, but it was a reminder of how real my faith is supposed to be. It was after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays last year that this challenge really hit home, because as my family gathered that season, we celebrated, but the emptiness was real. There was an unmistakeable sense that "she was supposed to be here." It was then that I made the connection: my faith in Christ which is my hope for life after death is as real as the fact that she was not there. The emptiness that we feel here on this earth...the reason she is not here with us anymore...is because she is with Him!
A couple of days after Jordan passed away, I discovered that she was a blogger! Well, sort of. I found her xanga site, which had a couple of posts on it. Now it also has multiple comments on it. I love where she's talking about how much she loved her dance recital and writes that she is "going to dance FOREVER!!!" Now, a year later, I have no doubt that she is dancing for Him today.
And that's what it's all about, isn't it? My faith is in a God that came to this earth, lived, died, and rose again, so that we, also, could rise again and live with Him FOREVER!!! And if that's not real, then I'm to be pitied more than all others. There's a bookmark with Jordan's picture and obituary on it that stays in my Bible, simply to remind me of that fact.
So tomorrow I will go to worship, and I will partake of the Lord's Supper, as is our custom every Sunday. I will participate in His body and His blood, and proclaim His death yet again. Often times, during communion, we are encouraged to meditate on the cross. I must confess that, during communion, although my mind may start out at the cross, it doesn't stay there long. It quickly moves to the empty tomb, because that's really become it for me, over the last year.
It's the only thing that gives me hope when my world doesn't make sense.