Monday, September 30, 2013


I scanned the room.  Pictures of smiling children flanked the walls.  An assortment of American girl dolls coated tables.  Pop music and Disney tunes piped through speakers.  If one didn't know any better, the scene would appear festive, light.

But it wasn't.

A white casket—in a size way too terribly small—stood in the room.  Two grieving parents remained by its side.

We stood in line waiting to express our condolences and pay our respects.  I tugged on Chris's sleeve and whispered into his ear, "I don't know what to say?"  What do you say to parents that just lost their seven-year-old daughter?  Most words seemed trite, not powerful enough to express the depth of our sympathy.  Chris shrugged.

By the time we landed face-to-face with our friends, words came.  Hugs were exchanged.  Tears flowed.

We inched away from the casket and struck up a conversation with another friend standing nearby.  Her countenance was heavy.  Tears streamed down her cheeks.  She recounted the connection between her daughter and the deceased little girl.  They were in class together.  Neighbors.  Friends.  

She sobbed, "My daughter said 'Why didn't God take away the cancer like I prayed?'"

She paused, "What do you say?"

I soaked up her words and ruminated on a response.  Finally I said, "These things we don't understand, but we know God works all things for good and His glory."

She softened.

I imagine finding the good will be a process and something that may be witnessed in years to come.

When we returned home, the boys were still awake.  I pulled them into impossibly tight hugs, grateful beyond words.

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