Perhaps life has played out differently for you than me. The day Melanie ran ahead to heaven I expected it to just be, an ordinary day. I was on the first day of vacation, at the spa, getting a facial with a friend. I wasn’t expecting anything unusual to happen, and I definitely wasn’t anticipating my beautiful, young, daughter dying.
It was an ordinary day, until it wasn’t.
The other day as I was driving my son’s friend home, they were playing a game called, “Would You Rather?” It’s a game where questions are lobbed back and forth, such as, “Would you rather drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini?” All of a sudden my son’s friend asked, “Would you rather know when you’re going to die, or would you rather know how you’re doing to die?”
Immediately, I felt a pit form in my stomach, as I thought about Melanie. I told them I’d have to pass on answering that one. I remained silent as I listened to them explain the reason why they each chose the answer they did.
Because Melanie’s death was unexpected, it was very traumatic for me and the members of my family. I’ve often contemplated the difference between an expected death and an unexpected one. Is it easier to walk through grief if you know it’s coming? Would it have helped if I knew when, as opposed to how?
Personally, I believe loss is hard whether you know in advance, or if it strikes like a viper out of the blue. It’s easy to place your trust in God during the ordinary days, but do you still trust him when it’s no longer ordinary?
A week ago, I attended a Celebration of Life service honoring the unexpected death of a dear friend’s son. Oh, how my heart broke for her and her husband, knowing what the road they are about to embark on will be like. Strangely, one of the first things my friend said was, “Today started out just like an ordinary day.”
I am no expert and no theologian, but I do believe this – there are no surprises to God.
The day my friend’s son died, and the day Melanie ran ahead to heaven, was of no surprise to God. For him, it was an ordinary day. He was expecting our children to be there by his side, welcoming them with the loving, open arms of a Father. With that thought, I take some comfort.
Our ordinary days are different from the Lord’s. While we may never fully understand why things happen like they do, if we place our hope and trust in God no matter what, he will make a way where there doesn’t seem to be a way.
We live in an imperfect world, where bad things happen to good people. While God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours, it comes down to trust. For me, no matter what kind of day it is, I will place my trust and life in him. My hope and faith will not be shaken or shattered.