Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Your father loves you."

Because at 5:00 p.m. yesterday my husband had scolded me for not eating right when he is out of town, at 6:30 I stopped working in order to drive to Wendy’s and back before American Idol started at 7:00. The car stereo was off but I turned it on to listen to a CD my friend just sent me, but scrolling through the modes, a Focus on the Family broadcast snagged my attention.

I ended up eating my spicy chicken sandwich in the car, parked in the garage until the message ended, wiping my tears on the yellow napkin.

Tomorrow, May 21, marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter, Marie Sue, who had turned 5 on May 13, 2008. Dr. Dobson interviewed Chapman several months after the accident, after the Chapman family had appeared on Good Morning America and Larry King Live, and that interview is being rebroadcast this week.

For those unfamiliar with this story, Will Franklin, the Chapman’s then 17-year-old son, had turned into the driveway and the car hit Marie Sue who had run out to meet him. Heart-rending to even think about this family’s sorrow, they share their private grief because their lives remain so public.

My thoughts run amok as I relate to this story. I ran in front of a car when I was 6-years-old; forever afterward the accident was described by my mother as me hitting the car instead of the car hitting me. And again at age 16, hit by a car while crossing a street, my heart went out to the person driving the car.

And that’s a big part of the Chapman story. Will has to deal with his sister's death in a way that no one else in the family does. 

When a neighbor volunteered to follow the emergency vehicle to the hospital, Steven Curtis Chapman rolled down the passenger window and called out to his son, “Will Franklin. Your father loves you.”

Chapman told Dr. Dobson that in the midst of incoherent thoughts he prayed, “Please, God. Don’t let me lose two children today.”

Here’s the link to the Chapman’s website.

If I can manage to collect my own incoherent thoughts about this story, I will share a theological footnote to Larry King's question about why God allows bad things to happen to good people.



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