Perspective without understanding…

Last night, after 9:30pm, I had a missed call and a voicemail from a friend who doesn’t commonly call late.

Her voice was shaking in the message and she said she had bad news…

Heart sinks. How bad? To what degree do I prepare myself? Is someone hurt? Worse? Someone sick? Worse? Acquaintance? Friend?

How bad is it?

With a deep breath, I phone her back.

Voicemail.

What does that mean? False alarm? Not really that important? Do I try again?

I look at my phone. Another missed call I hadn’t noticed the first time- no message. Another friend from my small group at church. Okay… so it’s someone from church.

We’re all pregnant… is it a baby? Did someone lose their baby?

What happened? It can’t be that bad.. I’m being dramatic.

Terran answers and I only have to say ‘hey, what happened?’

Her voice breaks. Oh shit. It’s bad.

“Jeanne and her husband were in an accident. They didn’t make it.”

It’s worse. Worse than I thought. The air goes out of my lungs. I’m 8 months pregnant so I can’t quite fill them back up. Maybe I didn’t hear right. Surly that’s not what I heard…

“They didn’t make it?”

“No.”

So. much. worse.

Silence. I’m crying, but I didn’t consent to that. I picture Jeanne’s face and literally see it fade away…

That’s it? They’re just gone? No prayers for recovery? No chance for healing? It’s just over? That can’t be right…

“Terran, that’s insane!” Is all I can think to say.

It is insane. We have a very small, small group- these women have meant the world to me as I’ve explored, developed and strengthened my faith. These women KNOW me and know my heart. These women are young and healthy. These women aren’t sick. They don’t die. They come to group on Tuesday and we cry and laugh and sing and pray together.

This is insane.

“The kids were care flighted,” she continues…

“The kids were in the car???”

She has… had… a 4 year old and a 6 year old. And she had two step sons in jr. high and high school.

“Are they okay?”

“We don’t know.”

“What happened?”

“We don’t really know. The car rolled over…”

“That is CRAZY!”

Quite literally I feel like my brain is going to explode! Not TWO minutes before this conversation, I was leading a small group over the internet called ‘What’s it like to be Married to Me?’ I had just done this study over the summer with my small group and Jeanne. I was JUST laughing and joking with my girlfriends. That was two minutes ago. And now I can’t breathe.

This is not making sense…

It’s all fuzzy. I remember hanging up. I called back my first friend who had called me back as I was getting the news from Terran. She answered and I told her I knew…

She didn’t know much more than Terran. They are all getting together. I should come over, she says… I can’t, I am out of town at my moms. I am out of my mind. This. does. not. make. sense. She’s gone… ?

I hang up. Call my husband- he’s out of state. Of course. I’m pacing. I’m trying to fill my damn lungs. They don’t want to fill.

He answers. I can’t form words. I can’t even describe who I’m trying to tell him has died. I just say they both died. Her kids have no parents… This is the hardest part for my brain to comprehend. Her kids have no parents. One minute they do, and then the next, they have no parents.

Why, God? I can’t even utter those words yet because I’m not talking to God yet… I’m not acknowledging Him just yet. That somehow deepens this whole thing… And then, just as I think it, I’m reminded that the very last time I was at small group we heard testimony from a fellow Woman of Grace who went through a long spell where she refused to talk to God- she was angry. Understanding floods my heart. I’m so angry. I’m sad but I’m so angry. I won’t ask God, but I ask my husband… WHY????

He just tells me he’s so sorry. Why do people say that? I mean, I’ve said that to people- that’s what you say. But sorry? For what? It’s almost patronizing. You’re sorry? Yea, we’re ALL sorry! This is stupid. This is a very stupid situation. I’m so mad!!!!!

I hang up with my husband. I try to fill my lungs- it’s a lost cause. She’s gone. This is insane.

The next hour or so is a blur. Information coming in. Calls, texts, voxes, Facebook… People are already tagging Jeanne on Facebook with condolences. I’m sorry but I’m DAMN glad I didn’t find out on my Facebook wall that my friend died! For heaven’s sake, her kids don’t even know they don’t have parents! Have some tact! I’m so angry!

The swings from calm to sobs are giving me a headache. I think they call it shock but it feels like insanity. Is this a dream? I don’t understand why this would happen… I just saw her. It was her birthday two days ago…

At a certain point I decided to watch tv because why not? What else is there? I am helpless. I can’t go anywhere or do anything. I can’t even pray. I don’t know what to pray. And I’m not talking to God yet…

A shower! I take a shower. My face hurts. In the shower, I’m alone- no tv. No kids. No mom. Just me and God…

Alright, God, WHY???? It’s too much! You want to know what I think? I think this is CRAZY!!!!!!!

I have a four year old… she has a four year old. I’ve thought about losing my daughter before, I’ll admit. I’ve thought about all the worse case scenarios. But I honestly have never thought about her losing me- both of us. All at once? It’s too much. It would break my little girl. It’s going to break Jeanne’s little boy. And her six year old… she’ll understand. She’ll actually get it. This is too much.

WHY GOD? I don’t understand this. This makes no sense to me!!!! This is not fair! I didn’t event have a chance to pray for her. It was over so fast! That’s not fair! That’s not how it’s supposed to go! She’s so young. Her kids are so young. This. is. insane.

And then a nudge… I can’t pray for her. So I pray, instead for her kids. I pray and I pray and I pray. I cry and cry. And suddenly I realize that God is listening. He’s hearing me. I’m still mad. I’m so mad. I feel betrayed- deceived. But I feel heard. And I start to feel better…

After the shower, there is more tv. More sobs to calm and back again. More prayers… always prayers… a dialog that includes the words ‘why’ and ‘insane’ a lot. He’s listening…

Finally there is bed, because there has to be. That’s what comes next. I lay down- it’s comfortable. The kids are probably in pain. I know they are all stable now- we’ve gotten word from the hospital. Maybe they’re even awake by now- they probably want their mom…

I toss and turn and somewhere in the middle of my turmoil I realize there is a little girl in my bed… my little girl.. she never comes to sleep with me at night and somehow I didn’t even notice her climb in. She’s already asleep. Right there beside me.

I hold her and I cry. I get to. I am still a mom. I’m here. I get another day or at least this minute… I am SO grateful and I’m SO filled with guilt. Why me and not her? And suddenly perspective starts to creep in… it happens without understanding.

I know I’m not in control. I hate this, but I know this. As a matter of fact, we just talked about it in small group not two weeks ago. I actually said out loud that I was GRATEFUL to not be in control. Ironic now, yes. But suddenly perspective brings me right back around to gratitude. And I pray…

Lord, I know I don’t get to know the plan. I know that I don’t understand and probably won’t, and yet I’m grateful that you endure my endless ‘whys?’ I know that Jeanne is home now, free of pain, free of stress, free of this world… I KNOW that’s better. I am clinging to that promise, Lord. And I CHOOSE to hold my daughter close right now. I CHOOSE to kiss my son as soon as he’s awake. I CHOOSE to not bitch at my husband and not gripe about potty training and not get annoyed at the traffic and all the other amazingly trivial and unimportant things. I choose to gain perspective and turn to gratitude.

I know that I’m not perfect. And I know that no sooner did I wake up in the morning, I was annoyed that my husband was out of state when I needed him… slipping right back in to focusing on the wrong things. But I also know that we have a choice when these things happen…

We can choose to turn to gratitude for the blessings that we have- for they are SO many. Or we can choose to only see tragedy. We can choose to lean into faith and SPEAK our grief to God… he hears it. It helps us. Or we can remain angry and not open our hearts to purge the sadness and gain perspective. We can choose to hold our kids tighter, love our spouses deeper, let go of the things that don’t matter, and embrace the miracles that surround us daily.

We don’t have to understand. We can still gain perspective through it all…

I have to say that I keep circling back to the last conversation I had with Jeanne, only just a few days ago…

We discussed Abraham in our group and how his faith was tested. Ironic? But we also learned that when we lean in, when we embrace and rely on that faith, the peace and the blessings come. The answers come.

We also talked about God given talent and how it is our responsibility to USE what he has given us… Jeanne said the underlined part stood out to her…

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She also said she felt like she had these gifts that had been hiding behind her insecurities and she wasn’t sure if it was time to show them to the world…

We are not promised tomorrow. This is the biggest heart hurt for me, next to those babies… What gifts was this world robbed of because of insecurities? What gifts are YOU holding back? WHY??? God did not make ANY JUNK! You are wonderfully and fearfully made! Why are you living ONE DAY of this life playing it safe, being afraid, hiding, what if-ing?

What. are. you. waiting. for?

We’re still here. We’re here to grieve this communities loss, and we’re here to learn as a part of the human experience… so learn. Gain perspective. Let it all go. Trust. Believe. Have faith. Be bold. Be fearless. Kiss your babies. Kiss your husband. Drive safely. Pray hard. Love DAREfully. Lean on your sisters.

And never forget…

If you’re able or compelled to help this family in anyway, we’ve set up a gofundme website to raise money for the 4 children left behind. As you can imagine, there will be a heavy financial burden ahead and we want to ease that in anyway we can. Our goal is to raise $30,000 per child by Thanksgiving. I know with God, all things are possible…

https://www.gofundme.com/hounsellchildren

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