Saturday, November 10, 2007

Close To Home

It happened Wednesday night. I heard the sound of a helicopter outside, shortly before the kids came down to my office to tell me dinner was ready. I stepped outside wondering how close it was.

The drone of the blades sounded like it was just on the other side of the tree line…very low. I looked for blinking lights or anything that would signal its location but saw nothing. I thought for a second- why am I hearing a helicopter so low and so close? We have a ‘neighbor’ or two that has a personal helicopter, and I have no doubt that a few folks have come home on a helicopter. One nearby couple, you might have heard of them- Faith Hill and some guy named Tim McGraw- certainly have enough money and land to have a fleet of helicopters on property. Every few days there is one in particular that zooms over our property fairly low. It had to be one of those.

Except for one thing. It just stayed where it was. For too long. One the ground, very close.

I went back inside and didn’t think about it again until the next morning when I went to a clients office for a meeting. Matt looked a little tired and had a hard time focusing as we started our presentation to a major retailer. After the meeting he apologized for struggling in the presentation and said it had been a long night. He told me a relative of his had died in a car accident- not too far from my house- and he was with the family until early into the morning.

Two fathers died shortly before I heard that helicopter. Two fathers, way too close to my home. A young boy was in one of the cars with his dad, and their car somehow crashed head-on into another car with another father driving home on our insanely hilly and curvy road. The boy survived, and was the passenger on the helicopter I heard, life-flighted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

I can’t get this out of my head. Neither can Michelle. The kids too. None of us knew the victims directly; we didn’t have a relationship with them. But we know both families from a distance. The little boy rides our girls bus to and from school.

I have driven by the spot where the accident happened 9 or 10 times by now, and I always have a feeling of horror, loss, and anger. I think about these people with their lives ahead of them, just going about the daily routine of living, suddenly, in a split second, taken from this world.

Why? The same questions, asked by billions of people over thousands of years, flood my mind. Why would God allow this to happen? Does he or does he not see the future? If he does, and he knew this would happen the moment and place it did, why didn’t he just have the one dad leave work 5 seconds later? Or the other dad get held up at the traffic light in Franklin 3 seconds longer? Why? What good could possibly come of this? How will God use this for good?

I am hurting for these families. The pain and anger constantly cycles into a nausea, and back again I end up reeling, thinking about how easily it could have been me with the girls in one of those cars. Or Michelle.