One of my very best friends is named Janelle. She was a teacher for seven years with us at HOPAC. During one of those years, she lived in our guest house. She was one of the most remarkable teachers I've ever known. If you ever saw her students lined up, waiting to go somewhere, you would see Janelle gently place her hands on each child's head, one by one. She was praying for them. Always. Never stopping.
After Tanzania, Janelle spent two years teaching in one of the most difficult, dangerous countries in the world. When she got married a few years ago, she and her husband moved to another difficult country--where the living conditions are so hard that "difficult" seems like an understatement. Janelle has willingly made so many sacrifices in her life, and yet she has always been one of the most gospel-centered, unselfish, loving people I have ever met, and she is one of my heroes.
On Saturday, I found out that Janelle's precious 16-month-old son, her firstborn, fell out of a second story window and lost his life.
I got the news as we were leaving for a three-hour drive to San Diego. I cried the entire three hours. I alarmed my children, who have never seen their mother cry so hard or so long. I can't imagine. I just can't imagine.
I struggled with whether to write about something so personal. Janelle is my blog's biggest fan and she will probably read this. She left me a comment on a post just a day before the accident.
I write about things that are interesting or important to me. But how can anything be interesting in light of such a tragedy? How can anything else be important? How can I write about anything else without acknowledging such an event has taken place?
I know these things happen all the time around the world. But when it touches someone close to you, life stops. Everything stops. Everything is gray; everything has shadows.
Janelle and her husband have a Firm Foundation and I have no doubt that they will glorify God in the midst of their nightmare.
But right now, there are no platitudes. There are no answers. There is just sadness with hope, and the reminder that though we may try and try to make our lives feel like Disneyland, the reality is that we live in a broken, tired-out, miserable, groaning world.
We groan. And we long for That Day.
(If you would like to pray for Janelle and her husband, please leave a comment here, or on her blog, to let her know.)