Answers and Tragedy Often Times Walk Hand in Hand
The TV Series
There’s a program on AMC that we've recently gotten interested in. We’re watching the back episodes on Netflex so that we can catch up to where they are this season on TV. I want to share part of the story, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so I’m going to be as vague as I can be while telling of the incident.
Part of the story-line, where we are in the series, has been built around a missing young girl. The group of people, that the girl was a part of, has frantically been looking for her, as they are in a highly dangerous living situation.
The story takes a few people of the group, including the leader, to look for the girl in an abandoned Church. The leader of the group is beside himself with worry because it’s taking so long to find the young girl, and now the group is beginning to question if he is making sound decisions for the group as a whole. While there at the Church, the leader took the opportunity to pray and ask that God would at least give him a sign that he’s on the right track in trying to locate the missing girl.
Soon after leaving the Church, the small group came across a beautiful wild animal as they were walking back to their camp; it was a magnificent few moments of time, and then tragedy struck. Unbeknownst to the leader of the group, this would be the beginning of the answer he had prayed for. Unfortunately, the leader had no way of knowing that (at this point), and he lost what little faith he once had.
A few tumultuous weeks passed by and then one day, in an instant, all hell broke loose, but within all the chaos of what was happening, came the sign. God had answered the leader’s prayer, but he didn't recognize it, because it was delivered within unimaginable pain and tragedy.
This part of the TV program has been a dynamic portrayal of how a man, with very little faith, cried out to God, and God positioned him where he needed to be, in order to find the answer he was seeking. But, it also reveals that sometimes it takes more faith to receive the answer, than the faith it took to ask for it with.
The Wedding Crashers
Eighteen years ago we were invited to attend a wedding of a relative that I didn’t even know. I had no intention of going, because I don’t generally attend weddings anyway, so why would I go to someone’s that I don’t even know?
My mom told me that at least she and I should attend, but I didn’t see it that way. My mom ended up winning the argument and I (Attempted) to take her to the wedding, but not without pitching a fit the whole drive there.
We were almost to the Church, (just across the street from it) and as I made a left hand turn in to the cross traffic lanes, I hit an oncoming car. It happened so fast, I never even saw the car until it was too late. My mom definitely took the worst of it because of where she was sitting. One of the first things that ran through my mind, after I knew my mom was okay, was how thankful I was that my four year old son decided, at the last minute, that he’d rather stay home instead of go to the wedding with us. My mom put her head in her hands and spoke out loud exactly what I was feeling inside; she said, “Thank God the little one wasn’t in the car with us!”
My mom had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance because she had suffered a head injury. They had me ride in the ambulance with her, along with the girl from the other car; she was experiencing some neck pain. While in route to the hospital my mom said, “Well you got what you wanted; we didn’t go to the wedding!”
That was no joke. I did get my way, not quite the way I would have intended, but none the less, I didn’t have to go to that wedding. I can’t tell you how many times in that week before the wedding that I had prayed, “Please God, I don’t want to go to this wedding!” Just for the record, I would have rather gone to the wedding than to have had that car accident.
Who knew that sixteen years later (In 2012) I’d be making that same turn, where the accident happened, and driving by the same Church, where the wedding was being held, so that we can get to the Synagogue (Caddy-corner from that Church), where my son and I have been the Janitorial Service for almost two years now; the same son who, eighteen years ago, decided at the last minute, that he wanted to stay home, instead of go to the wedding.
I think about that day almost every time we make that turn to go to work, because that day, as awful as it was, could have been tragic if my son would have been in the car with us, because he would have been sitting on my mom’s lap, like he always did, and seeing the head trauma the accident caused my mom, I can’t imagine what would have happened to my four year old son.
Though the answer to my dilemma came through an unfortunate car accident, I was spared tragedy that day, and I will always be reminded of that each time I make that turn, as I drive to work with my son.
Answers and tragedy do often times walk hand in hand, but thankfully, not on that day; December 4, 1996.
A Quirky Opposite
In 1996, on a Saturday afternoon, my mom and I had the car accident, which totaled the front of our van. We were headed to place that I didn’t want to go; my son chose to stay home. As it turned out, the place where I didn’t want to go to was next to the place that would become the very first account for my son and my janitorial business, fifteen and a half years later.
This accident was a real wake up call for me. My little son’s life was absolutely spared that day, and I took that for what it was; it was a warning for me, not only to be more careful driving, but I never allowed my son to sit on my mom’s lap in the car ever again.
On the flipside, two weeks ago, February 22, 2014, on a Saturday evening, we were departing from a place that I didn’t mind leaving, so that we could go to work at the Synagogue. While in route, we were rear-ended by a car as we sat at a stop light; there was just a scratch, hardly mentionable. The accident took place next to the Mall, where I got my very first job forty years ago at the old Jolly Roger Restaurant. My dad (Bless his heart) used to come and sit in the bar and wait while I worked my shift in the restaurant, until the day came when I finally had to tell him that he needed to stay at home. I was almost seventeen years old.
This accident was a wake up call for the young man who rear-ended us. He told us that he was trying to arrange some cupcakes as he was driving. As scared as he was that possibly he had done some damage to our Jeep, or to the company truck he was driving, I know this kid will be more careful in the future.
The Questions of Good Fortune
Like the quirky opposites I shared about above, I think that answers which come through tragedy, or misfortune, have an opposite as well and that, in my opinion, would be this; success and good fortune raises questions. For example, have you ever known of something really good happen in someone’s life, and there aren’t at least five people questioning why it happened for that person and not for them? Or an opportunity arises that would make a big difference in the level of income, but the person questions their own capability to be able to do the job. I think the worst of scenarios has to be, when someone does something for you, that has the potential of changing your life for the better, but something in the back of your mind tells you to question the motive behind the deed.
A Return to the TV Show
An example of the worst scenario brings me back to the TV show that I began with.
There is a second man who is seemingly caring about the large group of people he is the leader of. He has made every effort to make life better for everyone living in his community. Life is definitely good under the strict leadership of this second man, but there’s something about him that causes you to question his motives.
The second leader and his group are the opposite of the first (Aforementioned) leader and his group. The first leader received his answer through tragedy. He and his group have done nothing but struggle, but in their struggles they have become strong, both individually and as a group. And in the end, you know that the first leader would fight to protect the lives of his group of people.
The second leader; whose motives are highly questionable; he and his group are living quite comfortably for now, these people wouldn’t know how to defend themselves if something happened, because the leader wants them to remain weak. And in the end, I think it will be revealed that he is really only concerned about his own life.
I would rather receive an answer through tragedy and have the freedom to be a strong, independent person, than to have the seemingly perfect life provided for me by someone whose motives are questionable, and they want to own me by keeping me weak and indebted to them.
Better to receive an answer through tragedy, than to profit through someone with questionable motives!