So much life can happen in just 72 hours. Who can fathom going from celebrating, to a profound sorrow and deep grief, to again having HOPE that can carry one through anything? That is what my last weekend looked like.
Thursday evening Scud and I were absolutely privileged to attend the 60 year celebration of Young Life in San Jose (now known as Silicon Valley Young Life). For over 30 years, we were immersed in this wonderful ministry in San Jose. From being on staff, to being volunteer leaders, to serving on the Young Life Committee, we spent the first 30 years of our marriage, doing whatever we could to reach the adolescents in San Jose so they could hear the best news they could ever imagine by speaking the Truth about Jesus Christ and how much He desires to have all of us know Him and the love of His Father.
It was truly a remarkable evening put on by the YL staff in San Jose, the committee of capable and industrious adults, the amazing YL leaders and so many of the kids we try to reach.
It was quite the nostalgic evening, and tears slipped out of my eyes, realizing how extremely blessed we have been, along with our children, to serve in this ministry, along with some truly incredible people who have become our life long friends.
I went to be with the most incredible grateful heart and truly thanked God for what He has done in the past 60 years in San Jose and what He will do in the next 60 years of Silicon Valley.
The next morning I received a phone call telling me of the heart breaking news, that dear dear friends had lost their 28 year old son in a horrific series of events.
Unfortunately, I have learned too many times how fragile and precious life is and that we will never be certain of the number of our days. I, along with countless others, grieved deeply for and with this family. It is not supposed to be like this. Parents are not supposed to lose their children first. Having been a pediatric nurse for a number of years, I have seen this occur way too often.
My heart aches and breaks for these dear friends, and for their large extended family. I ache for the one surviving friend of a trio of childhood best friends. I am sorry for those of you who never got a hug from Sammy, who never knew his gentle spirit and generous heart. I can't fathom what his family feels, when my heart grieves too. I can't get them off my mind and heart. All I can do is pray for the peace that transcends all human understanding and for God to comfort the family and to bring others to comfort and walk with them through this.
The Okun's are the first thing on my mind each morning and the last thought and prayer I have at night. I don't understand such tragedy; none of it makes sense. I know this is not how it is supposed to be. This is never what God intended for any of us to experience.
Sunday was Easter. That is where the HOPE comes in.
When I stated that this is never what God intended, it is because when He created the world thousands of years ago, He envisioned perfection and peace. When Adam and Eve were deceived into believing the devil's lie, that they could be as smart as God, sin entered the world, and from then on life was no longer perfect.
But God couldn't let sin take away His love for us.
He had a plan. God the Father would send His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to take on our sin so that we might again, be able to be in the relationship with God that He had always planned on.
Good Friday is really more than good. It is the Best Friday, because Jesus died for our sins that day over 2000 years ago, and because of His suffering and death, for those of us who know him, we will be able to spend eternity with Him.
Saturday to me, is always the "in between" day. In between the reality of Jesus dying for us, in between the silence, the doubt, the questions, the grief, He knew that Sunday was coming.
On that very first Easter morning, Jesus Christ conquered death and defeated his enemy forever. He gave us the hope that how it is supposed to be will happen again.
The HOPE that all our tears will be gone, that the sadness and grief we experience here on earth, will barely be remembered. The things we have suffered and endured, will not matter. What will matter is that we will be with God for eternity. And THAT IS THE HOPE I am clinging to. The HOPE that I count on. The HOPE I believe with all my heart.
The HOPE that Joan and Dave, and Andy and Christina and Daniel, and the Davis family and all the DiSalvo's will someday be reunited with Sammy. The peace that they long for, will ALWAYS be present.
I am grateful to know that Sammy is with Jesus right this minute. He is at peace and living eternally with the God he loved deeply.
Someday, I will see him again. Someday, the way it is supposed to be will be.
For all the emotions that we have experienced these past few days, for all the emotions still to come, I pray that all of us will cling to Jesus Christ. He alone will be our Peace. He alone will sustain us through the grief. I am so thankful for the HOPE; I would be lost without it.
PS Sammy give Robby a hug and Robbo give Sammy a hug for me.