Monday, September 26, 2011

Too Close to Home

Sheri is a truly beloved college friend of mine.  Here she is back in the day walking to class at good ol' Mankato State.  Go Mavs!!

I liked her immediately because Sheri just loved life and rolled with the punches.  I was am not as good at that, and I just loved that she could.  You could not be with Sheri for long and not hear her singing or see her dancing.  That was the way I wanted to live and still do . . .

After college Sheri met and married Shannon.  Brent and I drove across South Dakota on a very, very cold November day to Sheri and Shannon's wedding.

I hadn't met Shannon yet, but what a pair!  If ever there was a man for Sheri -- here he was.  Kind. Loud. Singing away to his own song.  They moved to Virginia and had Ashton, who right around his second or third birthday, developed an aggressive form of childhood leukemia.  Sheri and Shannon had to make hard choices to save their son and today he is 15 years old.  The whole family continued to work very hard to raise money for childhood cancer and last weekend while training for a fundraising bike ride, Shannon collapsed and did not wake up.  His funeral was Friday.

I don't get it, and, frankly, this hits a little too close to home.  Who becomes a widow at age 42? (My grandmother Gigi, for one.)  I don't like it.

Now if you think that as a Christian, I am just sitting here saying things like -- "Well, it must have been his time.  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" -- you're just stinkin' wrong.  That's not what I'm doing at all.  This is where I hold my little fist up to God and say, "What the heck?! Why would you allow such a thing?!  Hasn't this family been through enough?!"

I don't know for sure, but His answer is probably yes and no.  We don't get to pick who has been through enough.  Life on earth isn't always fair. In fact, it hardly ever is.

But if I still know Sheri a little bit, after she is done shaking her fist at God, she will thank Him for her wonderful husband.  She will be grateful that she was married to him for nearly 18 years.  She will continue to love her son and parent him the best way she can.

Here's where character counts.  Here's where faith begins.

She will continue to sing and dance.

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