Our daughter, Heather, and grandson, Conner Jack, along with Lisa’s mom and dad came up for a visit this past weekend. It had been a couple of months since we had seen them and having them here in Cambridge for a few days was a blessing. In fact, it was a miracle. But more on that miracle in a moment.
We were proud to show off our little town to the family and share with them the good places to eat and cool things to see. That took about two hours and then we sat and stared at each other the rest of the time. Heather, Vernon and I saw the Pirates play in Pittsburgh and it was great sharing that experience with them. And, certainly, the highlight of our weekend was spending time with Conner Jack. Heather’s laughter has to be the most contagious laugh on the planet and she had all of us in tears laughing mainly at all of us. We had a tremendous time.
But now about that miracle.
While driving Heather and Vernon to Pittsburgh on Sunday my mind flashed back to June 14th. While riding up to Amish country near Dover, Ohio, Lisa and I learned that day of the motorcycle accident that involved her dad, brother, and friends. That accident took the life of our good friend, John Worth, and almost the life of Lisa’s dad, Vernon. I thought back to that day and Lisa and I hurrying to the hospital in Evansville, Indiana unsure of the true condition of her dad and unsure if he would live through the accident. We drove that day mostly in silence – praying and thinking about him and those involved in that wreck. It was not a good trip. Now here we were with Vernon in the backseat of our pick-up heading to Pittsburgh to see the Pirates. Heather and I talked away the two-hour trip and we laughed at funny things and we talked about future plans and possibilities. It was a very hopeful, fun trip.
And then I realized that the moment was really a miracle. Seeing Vernon sitting in that backseat reminded me of how good and gracious God had been to us. It could have just as easily been Vernon to have lost his life that day and yet here he was – with us. Something inside me wanted to shout for joy. Maybe it would be appropriate to pull the truck to the side of the road and shout, “Hey everybody! Vernon is with us”. They would have thought I had gone nuts and decorum calls for more restraint. And though the thought of this miracle kept pressing against my mind, I managed to push it aside to simply enjoy the moment and the day. God gave us this – God gave us Vernon, Lisa’s dad, my kids “Pap-Paw”, God gave him back to us for reasons only His sovereign will can explain. All I knew was that we had this day – together and that we should cherish the moment!
In recent days the world has been shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of the comic genius, Robin Williams. Many have said they wished they could tell Robin how much he meant to them. But now it is too late. Death has been called the great equalizer – but it is also the thing that takes away that last chance to say the one thing you always wanted to say. Death takes away that baseball game, the ride in the car, the next birthday party. It seems we cannot get our minds around the truth that we only have now – nothing else is promised. There is a wrong-headed idea in our culture that believes this life of ours is permanent and we should resist any thought of our mortality. Life goes on forever according to Madison Avenue so live it up. No greater lie has ever been perpetuated on us and our world view. Perhaps the latest shocking death out of Hollywood will open our eyes to the truth that nothing is guaranteed except that life will end for us all. Say what needs to be said to those you love while you can and enjoy every day until that final out.
During the seventh inning stretch we sang and laughed and swung our arms to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. We were happy to be at the game and happy to be together. The Pirates were losing and would eventually lose the game. None of that mattered. In the course of our lives we will probably not remember much about the game – what was the score, who won, who hit home-runs. But we will remember the day that we were together.
We will remember that Vernon was with us. And we will be thankful.
Steve and Lisa