I can’t get the image out of my mind. The pleasant expression on her face while she listened to the woman talk. The way the morning wind was blowing her blonde hair. The defensive way she raised her hands when the shooting started. The screaming.
I watched a woman die while I sat in my living room. I had just sent my two older children to school in their cute new outfits, hair perfectly in place, big smiles on excited faces. My youngest sat across the room from me, happily chattering to her Barbies. And I sat right here on my cozy couch in my pjs, muffin in hand, and watched a woman die.
Alison Parker. She had to have gotten up so early this morning, to be doing a live broadcast at that hour. She probably had a morning routine. Maybe she hit snooze a few times before she got up to make coffee.
I was up early, too. I groaned when my alarm went off. It was time to wake up kids and iron clothes and make lunches.
We both woke up today, Alison and I, and our paths were set, and we had no idea where this day would end up taking us.
I watched her die. And then I did a few loads of laundry. I showed Emerald how to match up socks as they come out of the dryer. I picked up the kids from school, and we talked about math homework and laughed as Adelade read the funny story she had written today.
Tonight I tucked all of my babies in. Here they are, safely stowed away under our roof, while I sit here on the couch with the night all around me. This has been a good day in my little family. I picture the dance Emerald did around the Candyland board when we played this afternoon. I’m winning, I’m winning! she sang, even though she wasn’t. I think about the panic and then great relief that showed on Sawyer’s face when I informed him after school that his sweet dog had eaten a lightbulb–yes, a lightbulb–for breakfast, but that she seems none the worse for wear. I remember the excited grin on Adelade’s face as she described the plot of the book she’s reading. I listen to the snoring of the man that I adore in the next room. Still, the image sticks with me: a woman dying on a deck on a pretty Virginia morning.
Where was God?
The answer, really, is simple. He was here. And He was at my kids’ school. He was at work with Chad and at work with you. He was in the middle of the piles of laundry and watching the Candyland victory dances. He was in your home, on the street, in every hospital and in every funeral home. He was perfectly present on that deck with Alison Parker.
Why did she die while I lived a pleasant day with my family? Why are her parents suffering unbearable grief while we went to bed with giggles and sweet hugs? Only God knows. But, days of grief will come to all of us. It’s a guarantee of this life.
We will all have a last day.
Nothing remains but what we do for Christ. Tomorrow may be another ordinary day for you and me. Or, it may be the last day we live on this earth. Whichever it is, let’s live it as if we are in the presence of the one true God. Because we are.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. Psalm 139:7-10