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Monday, March 28, 2011

desperate for resurrection

In my mind today, I was thinking I should post some thanks. For some answers to prayer. Through perseverance, phone calls, and major providence, our student JM from Uganda got into an A-level program to repeat his last two years of secondary and hopefully improve his scores, something that had been weighing on my heart, one of those tough parenting-from-afar things to arrange. Closer to home, Caleb survived the second round of cuts for rugby, as the massive 80-plus field of boys has been narrowed to 50ish (final cuts after break, to bring it to 42 I think, 22 JV and 20 Varsity). One of Jack's biology papers was called "best I've read" which was a huge boost to him after agonizing on it. Julia made the JV girls' volleyball team (a totally new sport in our family), and had two friends for dinner and a movie on Saturday. We took full advantage of our first weekend in a while without call or other duties and entertained Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon straight, a bit exhausting but thankful for the amazing people God brings into our lives here. Our departing Paeds resident whom I will greatly miss unloaded all her extra snacks, ziplocks, sunscreen, and hair products on me tonight, not to mention a few handy reference books. Three of the longest-term sickest babies in the NICU were discharged, Precious, Patience, and Sheila, each a miracle of survival. Listing these things is a discipline, a training of thankfulness in the midst of a world gone awry.

But tonight it's hard to remember those things, or if I do, to not feel somewhat guilty about them. Their importance recedes to trivia, and mocks the truly crucial. Because we just got the news that one of our WHM kids, Tommy Gilliam from Charlottesville via Ireland, died. I think both Scott and I felt this as a punch in the gut. Tommy was Luke's peer, also starting college this year. His parents were our college-mates. He and Luke hung out at our mission retreats. We met up with him when we visited Charlottesville. He was a great young man, faithful, polite, smart, pleasant, hard-working, Kingdom-oriented, world-aware, courageous, multi-cultural. There is nothing but a fine line of circumstance that made this their tragedy and not ours, he was on the roof of a building and slipped and fell. One false step and his life was over, no second chance, no rewind. In my nightmares I imagine this phone call, this irretrievable loss, but I know I can't even begin to touch the surface of what his parents are feeling now.

As we head into Easter, our only comfort in life and death, that Tommy and we belong body and soul to Jesus. That He has not just smoothed over death, or transformed death, but He has conquered and reversed death. The sudden, unexpected, untimely death of a vibrant 19-year-old makes that reality a lifeline to which we all cling, the sure Resurrection.


Anonymous said...

I am so sad to hear about Tommy Gilliam. I remember Tom Gilliam from UVA. Your note is very poignant and an excellent reminder of why we cling to the resurrection. ~Lauren

Greenbrier Escape said...

I"ll be going down for the funeral Thursday... still can't quite grasp it. Tommy was up at our church a few weeks ago (his aunt connally and i go to the same one) We exchanged hugs and Irish chit chat.

Mary Ann

Cindy said...

If at any point Tommy's parents would like to communicate with someone who has gotten a similar phone call, please feel free to give them my name and email address. Some of the most difficult things about losing a child and walking out a grief road that seems to make so little sense are the feelings of isolation and profound disorientation, and if anything I have been through and survived could offer even a small bit of hope, I would be honored to lend an ear. Praying with great compassion and pleading for all the things that only God can provide -
Cindy Nore

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of your friend's loss. How great. You summed it up well, that our only source of comfort in a time such as this is the victory Jesus has over death. His victory, our gain. Prayers to all.