I originally posted this last year on today’s sad anniversary. I still struggle with these same things another year later as I remember my friends. I’m comforted by these verses from 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.“
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I’m thankful I will see my brother and sister again because of the victory of our Lord.
On this day in 2002, two of the most wonderful people I will ever know were killed in a car accident. Jason and Alina were on the cusp of adulthood – just 19 and 20 years old, but they had already left an indelible mark on all their lives touched.
I became friends with Jason Carney and Alina Christianson as a teenager when we were all home schooled and attending the same co-op. We had similar interests and eventually were part of a program called Youth and Government together.
Jason was exactly the kind of young man men were supposed to be. He was good looking – but not arrogant about it at all. In fact, he was the sweetest most considerate guy I’d ever met. He was smart – scary smart, but didn’t rub your face it in. He was funny – not in a I’m-a-comedian-and-need-to-be-the-life-of-the-party” way, but in an easy, comfortable, make you feel like you’re having fun way. He was just a great person.
Alina was a sparkle. Her smile never ended and her laugh was amazing. We had sleepovers at a mutual friend’s house and played video-games and pretend poker (with root-beer-barrels for money) until all hours of the morning. She could always be counted on if you needed someone to talk to. She was a treasure.
They were both gone in an instant. All because someone got behind the wheel of a car after drinking.
I remember the day I found out. It was the morning after the accident. My parents were having a brunch that day. My dad was power-washing the sidewalk as I walked up to the house. He smiled and waved at me as I went thru the front door. My mom was sitting on the steps with my youngest sister, both of them sobbing. One of my other sisters was leaning ashen faced – tears streaming down her cheeks over the railing. The sight hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought instantly that my grandfather (who was at that time battling cancer) had died. And my dad didn’t know yet. How horrible. In that moment, I couldn’t think of anything that could be worse. “Oh mom – is it grandpa?” I asked. She just shook her head. I felt total relief. After all – nobody else I knew was sick. My mom looked at me, sadness welling in her eyes and said words I’ll never forget. “It’s Jason and Alina”. She then explained what had happened. And I broke.
I’ve heard it said that to question something’s “fairness” is to assume that you know better than God. To say it’s not fair – is to say that it would have been fair if it had happened to someone else. Somewhere else. Some other time. Some other place. Really, there would have been no time or place that would have made it fair to lose Jason and Alina. And if it had happened to other families, people I didn’t know, that wouldn’t have been fair either. In the seven years since the world lost these to marvelous people, I have dealt with many things that seemed (to me) unfair – there’s all kinds of events in life that I don’t understand. But I struggle the most with the loss of my young friends. I don’t pretend that my sorrow is anything in comparison to their families’, but the grief I still feel all these years later is still overwhelming. Maybe it’s because it’s one of those events that change your perspective on life. Since that March morning, I don’t view people as invincible. I don’t assume that age, health, or any other seemingly stable thing will prevent losing someone I love. I find great comfort in the hope I have in Christ – that I know Jason and Alina shared. All year long I know in the back of my mind that life isn’t fair, but when March 3rd comes around, I really feel the unfairness of life. The question of fairness comes down to why. Why this person? Why this time? Why not me? It’s the lack of any sense of why that makes things seem so incredibly unfair. And wish I could know before I see my friends again in heaven – “why?”.