The worst that can happen.
It is a day burned into my memory. I was thirteen years old. It was one of those dismal gray days of late winter when the house is dark in the middle of the day. I remember wishing a light was on as I sat in the living room of my best friend Ralph’s home. We were waiting for news from the hospital where his mother had gone to give birth. Free from parental influence, we bounced a basketball back and forth as we waited.
My father called with the news. It was the baby, my new sister, a girl, LeAnn, Down’s syndrome, a disability. When he told me I remember wanting to be away from there, away from the pain which filled the house. Yet, even at age thirteen I knew one ought not to run from friends in pain. That was all I knew, neither of us were any good at this sort of thing. This comforting thing. He kept saying she was only mildly disabled while I agreed with a fervor I didn’t feel, adding that it really wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
I walked home through the cold wet weather that mirrored the events of the day so perfectly. It wasn’t raining but everything seemed to be wet. It wasn’t windy but the slightest gust would turn my stomach into a knot against the cold which seeped into my bones. It was a sad and somber, deathlike day.
We couldn’t know. No one could. No one could know the joy that LeAnn would bring into the life of her family, into the lives of all who know her. She is a word of grace from God. Her quick smile, her generosity, her sincerity. Her love of life, of all God’s creatures and creation is inspirational and (thankfully) contagious. LeAnn taught us about life. LeAnn teaches us about life. Open, honest, caring, loving. No need to reach for the thesaurus when describing LeAnn, she has written on my heart.
“…In all things God works for good,” the apostle Paul writes. That is not to say that death or any of the deathlike experiences of life are a wonderful thing. No, our Lord is a Lord who loved life, who healed the sick, who comforted the suffering. God wishes no one ill, or disabled, or depressed, or oppressed, or any one of the infinite number of ways we experience pain and evil in our lives. We worship a life giving God, a life loving God.
Easter. Out of the worst that can happen God can bring good. Not just good, but great, better than I dare hope for. A resurrection of hope, a resurrection of life. Life not only renewed but enriched. Life made alive in all its fullness.