When I was five, I asked my dad how we knew that Jesus was born on December twenty-fifth. He said, “We don’t know for sure, but it is a day that people have agreed upon to celebrate.”
I thought a lot about this, and that night I started saying happy birthday Jesus at the end of my evening prayers. At five, I was concerned that perhaps Jesus was born on May fifth, or July twenty-third. What if the actual day went by and no one acknowledged it? I decided I would wish Jesus a happy birthday every single night for a full year, that way I would be sure not to miss it. A year passed, and I kept wishing Jesus happy birthday. It became a habit, a ritual that lasted thirty-one years.
The night of June 30, 2005, I found out my husband had died in a motorcycle accident. That night, I stopped praying.
I realize that makes me sound petulant and melodramatic. Grief, with its soup of anger and fear, forced me to reevaluate and create a new relationship with God. It was a slow process. Eventually I acknowledged three things. One, God has a plan for me and my children. Two, Scott’s energy was and always will be a force in our lives; his spirit is safe, and I believe, blissfully happy. Three, I had an opportunity to rebuild and create. This opportunity was a remarkable gift, unmistakable proof of God’s pure grace.
It is coming up on the eight-year anniversary of Scott’s death. I still don’t pray. I’m not bragging about this. I realize this is, perhaps, not ideal, but I don’t ask God to keep my children safe. I don’t ask God to guide me toward joy or peace. I don’t ask God to take care of people who are hurting. I believe He will do his job and carry out his intentions without me pointing out the people who need help. My goal is to remind myself daily to have faith in his plan; complete faith that when things make the least sense to me, they somehow make the most sense to God.
In the wake of the bombings in Boston, I am staying focused on three things I believe to be true. One, God is up to something. He is working in the lives of the victims as well as the perpetrator(s). Two, the darkest moments are disguised opportunities to rebuild and create, proof of God’s pure grace. Three, Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, and Lingzi Lu are safe and blissfully happy.