“Even with the best of our own personal efforts, many of us have discovered that there are some fundamental limitations on what we can do on our own. The good news is that there is a higher help wisdom and guidance we can tap into if we choose, which has the potential to deepen our healing beyond what we have found before.”
(CSH Core Principle #8. Faith)
Faith in the Face of Tragedy
A Personal Story
As the news spread quickly of a tragic helicopter accident involving Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven other passengers I, like so many others, felt taken over by a wave of collective grief. Even as my heart reached out to the families, I struggled to contain the cascade of my own emotions ranging from shock and disbelief through denial, fear and sorrow…. Emotions which, quite honestly, are all too familiar for me.
As the story continued to play out on every news station, I found myself transported back in time to a terrible, unfathomable day four years ago now, the day that our own family received the incomprehensible news that our daughter had been killed in an automobile accident. A day that started out like any other day in our ordinary life and then, in the blink of an eye, marked the beginning of a whole new world for me.
Our beautiful 20 year old daughter, was approaching the halfway mark of her 18 month service as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when the vehicle she was riding in was struck by a school bus, killing her instantly. For the Latter-Day Saint community our, very personal and private tragedy, took on a life of its own. A sacred space for the hopes and fears of tens of thousands of family members praying for the safe return of a missionary. A place where our daughters passing became the vessel for the collective mourning of an entire community. For most, these events are now a distant memory but, for me, thoughts of our kind, energetic, fun and loving daughter are an ever present-and at times painful reality.
This beautiful young lady, our sweet and sassy girl, who was always the life of the party, always so happy and loving…now missing…from the future earthly moments of our eternal family. There would be no goofy airport reunion signs, no pictures or hugs and happy tears of relief at a missionaries safe return. No sacred ceremonies, graduations, fiancee’s… no bride and groom or motherhood… or grand babies. So many things gone…our lives changed dramatically, forever and irrevocably.
There are moments when we feel cheated. When the daily absence of our sweet daughter feels overwhelming. Moments when sorrow lingers and peace seems fleeting. And yet it is our Faith that tempers the loss. A Faith that our beautiful missionary daughter loved sharing. A faith that strengthens, assures and accompanies us through grief, loss and tragedy. A faith that holds us close and bears us up. A faith in a Savior who heals, comforts, strengthens and binds us together as a forever strong, eternal family.
And so as the world collectively mourns a tragedy, I too mourn, and yet there lingers a sweet and tender mercy in knowing what it is that I am choosing. A choice to believe in something far, far greater than me. A guided path of deeper faith, strength, hope and healing.
(Member CSH 2020)