Walking in sunshine. Noise up at the intersection.
Have you seen Cindy?
She went to the store after the bus.
Funny joke with a friend. Begin to change out of school clothes, into shorts, for warm sunshine. Mom yelling.
She’s been hit!
Cindy was hit by a car!
Run out the door, jump in van. Drive to intersection.
Blood. Sirens. Police cars, fire trucks, ambulance, witnesses. Figure covered up. No, uncovering. Broken. CPR. Ambulance. Someone drives us home. Police transport to hospital. Dad arrives.
She is gone. Nothing but a blur, in fits and starts. My sister died. Hit and run. Only 9 years old. Drunk driver.
Later, sun going down. Sitting in back yard.
Don’t you wish it had been you?
He didn’t mean it the way that it sounded.
Do I wish I had died? I don’t know.
The words’ impact would resound for years. He didn’t mean it the way that I took it. But he could never understand the impact. 11 years old. Agonizing. We were all shell shocked. No hope.
Words… the words we so desperately needed to hear…
…I am praying for you…
…God didn’t do this…
…God knows your pain and he will carry you…
…God has a plan for your life, and a purpose…
…Jesus loves you…
…He came to give you hope…
Words I needed to hear. No one spoke those words. Not to me, or to my parents. While each one of us spun in our own orbit of shock and devastation.
He didn’t know that this one singular, horrifying event, coupled with one shell shocked question would plunge me into ten years of self-destructive behavior. To numb pain. To escape the reality I created for myself. It wasn’t his fault. And God understood. He had a plan.
Then, new words, spoken in perfect time. At 24.
Jesus took all of my hate, my addictions, and my messed up life and made it new. Said the man, former drug dealer.
New? (He could do that for me too?!) Take it, I don’t want it any more. I can’t carry it any more. If I do, I’ll die.
New life. Salvation through Christ. Lifting 13 years of hate and anger, bondage and burden, addiction and depression. Saved.
My Dad didn’t mean it the way that I took it. They were just words, at the time. Tumbling thoughts. It took coming to Jesus, giving up the burden I had shouldered at 11, to realize that. Forgiveness. Love. Reconciliation. Starting over.
There was a purpose in the path. God knew that I needed to walk it a certain way in order to come through it. He allowed me to walk it, knowing full well what it would take for me to come to the place where I needed him. And I’m okay with that. He doesn’t waste an experience, ever. He makes it all work for our good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
And Dad, I love you.