Monday, November 7, 2011

For You are With Me

My last post was a short essay about one of my very best friends. It was an assignment, but it was a joy to write, at least at the beginning. When I was halfway through writing it she was in a tragic car accident.

It was my morning off and I was sitting on my bed trying to do my homework when I heard the whispers outside my window. "Did you hear?...It happened a couple minutes ago...Amaris..." I sat still. I felt cold and my body tensed. O God, be with Amaris. What had happened? I didn't want to be nosy, but it didn't sound good, and it sounded like it was about my friend. My roommate opened the door and came in. She didn't look good.

"What happened?"

When she told me, it was as if someone had set my body on fire. She tried to convince me not to go, but I couldn't stay. The last time one of my friends was injured I hadn't been able to be there for him, and I wasn't about to let that happen again. I was on my feet and out the door before I knew what I was doing. I started to run, but I didn't really know where. My roommate's words replayed through my head. "Ten passenger van rolled at Corrigan's..." Surely it must've happened at the back entrance since that one is so treacherous. I headed up the hill. "They're sending an ambulance..." Would I get there in time? I forced myself to run faster. O God! Ease her pain! Let her be O.K!

Finally, I crested the hill and came in site of,...of nothing. Where was she? Was I too late? I had to be there for her, but how could I find her? Try the other entrance, Katie. I recalculated my direction. The frosty air tore at my throat, but I was desperate now. I picked up the pace and pounded down the highway toward the main entrance. A rescue truck passed me with flashing lights and a blaring siren.

There! It was all laid out in front of me: the totaled van on its side; the police cars and trucks with their lights flashing; a couple small groups of people huddled together; the heavily weeded field that spread between me and the silent, organized energy of an accident scene. I stepped off the highway and skittered and slid down an embankment. As I crossed the field a friend ran to meet me. I hadn't even realized how shaken I was until he hugged me and told me everything was going to be alright. I was choking on my tears and shaking from a mixture of fear, shock, and exhaustion.

It all went by so quickly and so slowly at the same time. I tried so hard to get close, to comfort her, to let her know I was there for her, but the police were an impenetrable wall. I saw her face, but it wasn't her. There was too much blood, too much swelling. How could that really be my Amaris? Her clothes were covered in blood. The paramedics were clumsy and inadequately trained. Why can't I help her, why can't I go with her? I know her so much better than they do; I love her so much more...

I stood and watched as the ambulance pulled away. I couldn't believe it. Father, why? I ran down the hill, grabbed my Bible from my room, and ran down to the pond. It was cold, but even as the wind froze my tears the sun warmed the top of my head. I looked up at the parted clouds and felt the warmth on my face. Blue sky, snowy mountains, wooded hills. Yellow leaves floated on the water that gently rippled because of the gentle fountain and the soft breeze. I was surrounded by beauty, but the weight of my heart pulled me to the ground. I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and wept.

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’” (Job 1:20-21). Peace flooded me as I began to read. In the story of Job I found the voice of God to my soul. Job’s cries of anguish were mine, his questions and his doubts were mine. And God’s promises to him were God’s promises to me.

Reading my Bible didn’t make everything better. My friend is still in the hospital, and my heart still aches. Reading my Bible simply assured me that God does care, that He is in control, and that all things do work together for good (Rom. 8:28). It gave me courage. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me” (Ps. 23:4a)


  1. Wow! Ouch. So this is recent. Is she okay? That must've been a bittersweet experience for you. The pain of not being able to be with your friend, but then God giving you peace. Precious. God is so good. Really.

  2. It was really tough at first, but now all I can say is "Praise the Lord!" Amaris is back at school now, although she isn't taking classes yet. It has been truly amazing to see the Lord work in her life and in the life of her friends. God is good!