My husband Ralph took our grandsons John and Andrew skiing in Colorado over their spring break. Andrew had been before and is an accomplished skier. Ralph had taken John skiing years ago at a small ski area in West Virginia, but never in Colorado, so Ralph started him out in a beginners’ class in the resort’s ski school. The necessary precautions were taken, but when John, following the instructor’s directions, started to ski down the mountain, he didn’t make it. Instead he picked up speed and lost control, got his ski stuck in the snow, fell hard, and broke his leg quite badly. The skiing was finished, and a trip to the Denver Children’s Hospital began the new challenges.
In Davidson a 49-year-old mother of four children had a business of pet-sitting and dog-walking. At an intersection on Main Street that had a new crosswalk and pedestrian-crossing light, she got a walk-light and headed across the street with two dogs in tow. At the same time a big garbage truck, with a green light, turned the very sharp left onto Main. Neither the woman nor the driver of the truck saw each other until it was too late. The woman and one of the dogs were killed. The driver was taken away in handcuffs. Word came quickly that no speeding and no alcohol were involved, and that the driver was a respected employee.
Both situations hurt to the core of my being. I would like to lash out, be angry, and blame someone—as if that could change the situation. With John, while I was home alone worrying about them, I spent one night imagining John’s trip down the mountain and trying to make the accident not happen—as I do when I have a scary dream and wake enough to try to imagine something different happening in the dream that will overcome the scariness. Of course that didn’t change anything, and with both situations I am simply left with grief and a big hurt in my heart and my belly.
Where is comfort—for me and for those even more intimately involved? Speaking for others seems cheap and wrong. For me, I can do something to reach out and express care in some way. I can share the hurting with others. Holding it together makes the hurt a little lighter or less unbearable. And I can cry out to God, hold it in the Light, lift it to the heart of Jesus, be still in the Presence.
How have you or others you know handled the grief and hurt of a terrible situation you can’t change?
What spiritual resources give you comfort?
Divine Mercy, we long for your presence and healing touch.
For further reflection:
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases”. . . (See Lamentations 3: 16-26).
“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).