Today is the perfect day to find a big paper snowflake that Selena made for me last December. I took a big group of students to a Help Portrait event last year and some of the kids learned how to make these giant snowflakes from some of the V21 volunteers. For weeks after the trip I kept seeing these all over the school where kids had made them for their (I’m gonna go ahead and say, favorite) teachers.

The funeral yesterday was as terrible as funerals can be. Lots of tears were shed by all. The best part was I got to see her sweet little Gabby and play peek-a-boo. I found out today that I was the only one that could get her to laugh. If I had known, I would have stayed all night just to hear that sweet two year old belly laugh (is there a thing better?). Today, Selena and her father (who was also killed in the accident) are on an airplane to Mexico to be laid to rest near family, Selena in her Midway blue cap and gown and her father in his favorite hat.

Last night I spent a lot of time talking (and crying) it out with my sweet husband who reminded me that even though all things happen for a reason (Romans 8:28 and whatnot), we may not ever see the ‘good’ and it’s ok to be mad, sad and upset. I was reminded of a sermon we heard at The Summit, one of our first visits, about death (at the time it didn’t seem so relevant) and how Jesus reacts to the death of Lazarus, you know, before he raises him from the dead and whatnot. With one sister, he gives her the ole John 3:16 answer to death and with the other he weeps and is “deeply troubled”. In the sermon, we heard the pastor guy said that the word they use (Hebrew? Greek? This is embarrassing) really meant mad. Like, really snarling, foot stomping angry. This Jesus, is one I identify with the most right now. I am outraged that death had the audacity to take Selena.

Now that the dust is settling, I am able to see a little clearer what this all means for me. The first? I am where I am supposed to be. This job is hard. It is emotional. It takes your weekdays, your nights, your weekends and most of all, your heart. Every single one of those teenagers, even the roughest, toughest and meanest take up a teeny tiny piece of your heart that you will never get back, and as much as it hurts sometimes, there will never be a day when I’d have it any other way.

The second? Jesus was very clear about death and trouble. “In this world you will have trouble. Take heart! I have overcome the world.”

This life is so temporary and so precious but there is, and has always been a bigger story in play. This life can hurt so badly, but we can rejoice in our suffering in that this is not the end-all be-all. This is merely the beginning of something greater.

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