Tears cry out from the city again tonight as another senseless murder has taken place. A story that strikes so close to my wounded heart. A young faith-filled husband and father left his home yesterday morning to go to the gym, similar to the daily workout routine Nate once had. He left his pregnant wife and young child at home with full expectations to return and see them again shortly, as I always expected Nate to come home to me. However, so similar to my morning of April 1st, this was not to be so. When he returned, he found a scene few of us could ever dare to envision – for the pain would be so excruciating. His lovely bride had been shot in a home burglary and was laying on the floor close to death with the child upstairs in his crib. My heart breaks over and over and over again for this young man. It feels so similar to that morning. While I do not know this family, I feel a deep pain in my heart, like a scar that has been reopened. And my mind begins to wander. I wonder if he and his wife shared a beautiful last night like Nate and I did; I pray that they did. I wonder if she was able to hear his prayers and I love you’s in her final moments, I pray that she did, as I pray that my prayers found a way to Nate while he lay in his final moments in the hospital miles away from me. Worst of all, I wonder what Nate would have felt had he returned home to a scene such as this, where I had been the victim and not him. And my soul cries out for him. I can never imagine the pain Nate would have felt or how this young dad is feeling today.
One thing I have learned these past 19 months is that there are no guarantees in life. There is no promise of tomorrow, there is only today, only this moment. This past year, I have had the privilege of meeting many other widows, an honor that is both a blessing and a curse. I pray daily that I never have to meet another widow, because I would never wish this pain upon anyone else. And yet I am so blessed to know each and every one of them, for they continue to teach and encourage me every day. Too often, I am reminded that life is short and we do not know what tomorrow may bring. So many of the widowed friends I have made have lost their husbands shortly, tragically, without any or with little warning. Car accidents, heart attacks, violence, cancers, and other medical emergencies come up in the blink of an eye. The last goodbye you say before leaving for work in the morning may be the last goodbye ever. I so often wake up in the morning, wondering if yesterday had been my last day, would I be proud of it? Would it be a day worth being the last? Understanding that we do not know the hour or the day at which our death approaches makes me want each and every day that I live to be a day that is deserving of my last.
In this country, we plan out our lives, and yet so often I think we forget to actually live them in the little moments throughout the day. We forget to say “I love you”. We forget to get away from our phones and enjoy the moment we’re in. We forget to take a deep breath of fresh air and walk a little slower to admire God’s creation. We forget to drop the fight and ask for forgiveness. Do you know how many times I wish I could have one more fight with Nate again? Just to hear his voice and get the opportunity to tell him I love him and that he’s right? Because what an amazing and humbling gift that is to be able to do for our spouses. To love them more than we love ourselves and to want their happiness more than our own! Too often we forget that. Too often our own selfish desires plague our wants and needs, triumphing over our spouse’s, let alone over God’s. And yet, when tragedies like Nate’s or this young family’s occur, it is so important, so necessary that we take a step back and reexamine what our priorities and where our treasures are.
Upon hearing the news of this tragedy today, I immediately felt my breath catch. My stomach fell into knots and my mind felt frozen. I felt like I was back there, back to April 1st, reliving my own nightmare as I read another’s worst nightmare unfold. The tears stung my eyes and I can’t help but cry out how life feels so unfair, where is the justice in this? Where is the good, where is the humanity of our world?
And once again, as I was reminded in April, I was reminded again today as I saw the overwhelming love, the prayers and the support already begin to come in for this family. I ask you to please join me in praying for them and consider donating to their cause. I know I will never be able to show the depth of my appreciation or gratitude to those who were willing to help us after Nate was murdered but I once again want to thank you all for reminding me of the goodness of mankind and pray that this family can be reminded of this as well.