Beep..beep..beep..I was reviewing my list, listening to the sound of each item as it slid across the UPC reader. Beep, beep..beep..beep..and then suddenly.. “OH… MYYY… GODDD! IS WHITNEY HOUSTON’S DAUGHTER DEAD?!” The clerk and I both jumped at the same time and turned to face the lady standing behind me; a rumpled, middle aged woman holding the latest copy of one of those gossipy magazines for sale at every register. “Did that girl FINALLY die?!” she demanded to know in a loud, raspy voice. “I don’t think so” I calmly offered in an attempt to defuse her obvious shock and awe. “Well that dad of hers should be nailed to the wall!” she yelled, “He should be nailed to the wall!” She unleashed a thick, congested laugh that exploded into a thunderous coughing fit. The clerk and I exchanged puzzled, nervous glances…..just a few more beeps and I was outta there.
As I hurriedly maneuvered my buggy towards the exit, I noticed an attractive, young mother in front of me pushing a wagon full of food through the door. Two little boys followed close behind and a toddler sat in her cart. She paused for a second, probably to look for her keys, and as she did I noticed that the precious, tiny girl sitting next to her purse had Downs Syndrome.
I drove home, lugged my bags into the kitchen and quickly put my groceries away. Try as I might, I couldn’t unpack the vision of this mom with her kids. I thought about her life, what it might have been like.. growing up -beep, maybe college – beep, falling in love -beep, a wedding -beep, a son -beep, then another son -beep, probably just your average life..until it wasn’t. I imagined her spirit torn in half upon hearing the news, “It’s a girl!..but there’s a problem.” I pondered the heartbreak, the tears, the anger, the sadness, and no doubt the agonized “whys?”
Nothing in this world makes sense to me outside of my faith and my relationship with God. This is the only constant in my life big enough to provide a framework around every possible experience, from the deliriously wonderful ..to the seemingly pointless ..to the devastatingly terrible. Every journey we take, no matter how rough or how smooth, can bring us closer to God and deepen our understanding of who He is. If I didn’t believe that I’d surely be wracked with unmanageable anxiety, depression, anger and hopelessness.. not only for myself and my loved ones, but for strangers like this woman at the the grocery store.
While I still don’t understand why some people have a seemingly unfair share of burdens to bear, in the final analysis no matter what our life’s story, we will each eventually have an answer to the only question that really matters:
Do you know God?
John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.