Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"From Where You Are"

(by Lifehouse) From Where You Are - Smoke & Mirrors (Deluxe Version)



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[Disclaimer: Before y'all think I'm all depressed, I want y'all to know that I'm OK! I promise I am!]

I didn't really want to do another gloomy post, but I decided that I couldn't let this day pass without a tribute to my friend Stephanie. She passed away 20 years ago today, along with her sister and two brothers. They were killed when a train struck their van just a few yards away from their house. They were only 15, 12, 7 and 5. Their deaths rocked an entire town to its core.

I had met Stephanie a year before I moved to our little town. I had been visiting my uncle there, and we went to a church service in a nearby town. We were the only two teenagers there, so we hung out together in the nursery with her younger siblings. She had the coolest bangs. I never did figure out how she got them to stay up so high! {Yes, it was the late-80's. And bangs were like totally tubular!}

Fast forward a year...it was the day before my Freshman year of high school, & I had just moved to town a day earlier. My uncle took me to a football scrimmage where I met a few people that I would be going to school with. Stephanie was there, and we remembered each other! It was so nice to already have someone I could consider my friend. The next morning, she saw my mom dropping me off at school & called out to me so we could walk in to school together. I never told her how much that meant to me. I hadn't been looking forward to walking in to school alone, and she was there to help me not feel like such an outsider. {It was a seriously small town. There were only two new students: a guy named Brooks that you'll read about later & me!}

A year after that, Stephanie stuck up for me at the risk of her own reputation. There had been a little misunderstanding, and a story was going around school that Coach had chewed me out for doing something that was against my character. When Stephanie heard people talking badly about me, she defended me & admitted to everyone that she was the one Coach had chewed out. I don't know of many people who would do that. But Stephanie did it for me.

And less than a year after that, she was gone.

And somehow, 20 years have passed. Is it crazy that I sat in my van & cried during my lunch break today? I exchanged emails with a couple of classmates while I sat there. I know it has been a long time, but we remember it like it was yesterday. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I remember how quiet it was in town. I remember sitting in my pastor's swing in the front yard & seeing Brooks (Stephanie's boyfriend) drive by a thousand times over the next few days. I remember Cheryl (the mom who had lost all four of her children at once) thanking people for coming to the funeral & always being concerned about how we were doing. I remember how awful it was when school started again in the fall & Stephanie wasn't there. I think we all sorta tried to pretend that we hadn't seen her because it was summertime, but reality totally set in when we went back to school.

One really cool thing that I have to mention is the devotional that I "happened" to have read on the morning of the accident. I kept it all of these years, because I think it's awesome that God speaks to us in such a way. I won't type out the whole thing, but here's a big chunk of it:

The Lord -- My Strength
Good people are not immune to suffering, and they usually have no answers for the tragedies that hit them...The steady boyfriend of a youth in our church was killed in a car wreck when he failed to make a familiar highway curve. A missionary's wife and children were killed in Africa by a man the mission had befriended...At times God does seem to answer our prayers for deliverance from some problem or difficulty,...But the Bible doesn't promise that we will never have suffering or disappointment. What it does promise is that God will be with us in whatever we experience. We can be sure that He knows what's going on and loves us and that good is possible in even our bleakest experience.

I'll close with the words Brooks posted on facebook this afternoon:

just because time passes,
a memory doesn't fade and the hurt doesn't lessen...
all just becomes manageable.
hard to think it has been 20 years.


Amy

4 comments:

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

There are those moments that time just never changes it for us. What a wonderful friend Stephanie was to you. How special that you were blessed to know her for the time you did. Love the devotional you posted!

Messy Mom said...

You just made me realize it's been 20 years since my little brother died. Don't worry that is not a bad thing, it's just that when I started doing the math I realized what was happening 20 years ago! I know this is weird, but today I was thinking about how I am grateful to have friends that are comfortable talking about death. I am able to share my story and they are too and no one has to feel guilty about being gloomy. So it's a good thing, because some people have a hard time with the topic and they end up bottling things up.

Laura said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story and that devotional. It really helped with some things that I have been struggling with.

Brooke said...

of course you're not crazy. my 8th grade prom date died in a car accident our freshman year of high school. if not for pictures i probably wouldn't remember what he looks like, yet whenever i read thing like this my heart breaks for his family all over again