Faith is trusting God in the dark.
I was reminded this morning of a song I heard years ago.
Our neighbor was a single mom.
She lived 4 houses away from us. She had a son who was about 15 and a daughter around age 12. The three of them created a new home together after a nasty divorce.
She was a wonderful encourager.
A powerful Christian witness, and a really nice person.
She loved her children and always did what was best for them.
One afternoon we sat in our kitchen sharing coffee and life issues.
She was tired. The hours at her work had been long that month.
The overtime helped for the holidays. She was looking forward
to a happy Christmas with her kids.
She was gifted in music and had been helping a church with their holiday programs.
The night drive was about an hour away from where we lived.
She left my house, and I waved goodbye as she drove away.
I was thankful for our new friendship.
That night about 11:30 or so I remember hearing a loud ‘knocking’ on our door.
We were sleeping.
It startled us awake.
My husband got up first and went to the door.
Looking out the window he saw a uniformed officer standing in the dark.
The porch light reflecting his shiny badge.
The slick black shoes, and the leather belted gun holder looking so official. As the door opened, he wanted to know if he could come in.
My husband rushed to our room to hurry me out; “you are needed in the living room”.
When I saw his uniform panic and fear walked with me, as I went out to where he was.
Our son was in college living in a different city, I had no idea why this man would be here.
I felt a deep sinking feeling move into my spirit.
The officer said to us, “Do you know your neighbor?”.
I answered, “Yes she is a friend of mine”.
He said very quietly, “Well we found her car overturned alongside the road, and she was killed”.
The numbing words slammed me against a wall.
Disbelief came forward first, “no I just saw her. She was fine”.
Denial moved in next to disbelief. “She has two children, they are teenagers she can’t be gone”.
She left my house hours ago, she hugged me and said ‘see you tomorrow’.
I looked across the road to the direction of her home.
The decorated windows and Christmas tree lights still turned on.
The officer told us he drove past it, and noticed the children inside.
He said, “Would you be open to coming over to the house with me, so that I am not the only one with them, when they are told what happened?”.
We answered yes.
It was very dark and the stillness of the night so quiet.
We walked in silence as the three of us headed towards her door.
I was remembering our last conversation only hours ago.
How would we have known that was our last conversation?
The children greeted us and, questioned why we would be visiting that late at night.
Their mom should be home soon, she was running a bit late.
The grim reality of our news broke my heart as my tears began to fall.
My husband sat both of them down.
The officer had suggested that it would be better for us to tell them the news, since we knew them personally.
My husband placed his hands on her sons face, looked him in the eyes and said, “your mom’s been killed. She’s gone”. The numbing silence followed, as they tried to understand what they just heard.
Our immediate need for phone numbers and relatives to notify was first on the list. She had a mother alive and a brother. The children could not help us. So we rummaged through her private papers till we found what we needed. It felt very intrusive to me but we had no choice.
The officer suggested we go back to our home as soon as we could. Hot cocoa was prepared and the kids made small talk. The officer stayed with us almost 9 hours until family could come the following day. He was a wonderful big shouldered man. I will always remember his warm hug. He told us he was almost retired and felt he should stay with us as long as we needed.
Her son zoned out on video games as the officer talked with him and her daughter fell asleep.
That tragic night would forever change their lives.
Her elderly mother took the kids in and eventually they moved back with their dad.
My neighbor had made a taped recording just weeks before she died and these are the words to the song, she sang at her own service.
“God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind. So when you can’t understand, when you don’t see his plan. When you can’t trace His hand, Trust his heart”
I think it was a clear and loving message for her children. When you don’t understand the plans of the Lord, Trust His heart. I don’t know where they are these days. I hope they will remember the neighbors who cared and the wonderful police officer who gave his time to all of us.
I pray their lives were forever richer for knowing her love.