Monday, February 7, 2011

An Anniversary, Of Sorts

Today, as I flipped to the right page in my devotional book, I realized that today is that day. That day that I thought about a lot in January, hoping that a depression wouldn't threaten when it got here.

It's been nine years.

Nine years, since my best friend and her five month old son lost their lives, as a result of a car accident.

It's been eleven years since I've heard her voice. Unless you count the tape I have of us singing (badly) when we were kids. Or the time several years ago when her sister played me a voice mail that Jessie had left for her before her accident.

Which I don't.

Eight to ten years ago, I would have said that we had grown apart and that distance was the main reason we hadn't spoken in so long. We did live about an hour away from each other, and life had taken us down very different paths. Well, my choices had, if I'm going to be honest.

The choices I had been making were not good ones and by the time she passed away, I hadn't darkened the door of church in seven years. When I think about some of the ways I passed my time in the two years that I could have been spending time with her, I kinda want to shake the Rachel that made those choices. Thankfully, she slowly began to die the same day that Jessie did.

Now that I've firmly re-established my relationship with God, what made us such great friends to begin with, it's easier to admit the truth. The reason we weren't friends during that two year period was sin. My sin. Sin separates us from God, but it can also separate us from those who love Him. Even if they love us, too. Jessie never harassed me about my all-star idiocy. She was smart enough to know what effect that would have had. I know she was praying for me though... After she died, Frank's mom recounted a conversation that she'd had with Jessie on our wedding day. My mother-in-law was asking Jessie what they were going to do about us not being in church. Jessie said, "Don't worry. They'll come back." The faith that she had in me brings me to tears every time I recount it. The irony of what would bring me back gives me chills.

I remember sitting on the steps in a deserted hallway in the hospital, the day of the accident and thinking, did I cause this? Is her death my fault? Is this my punishment for wandering away?

Obviously, I hadn't read the New Testament in awhile, either.

I'm so incredibly thankful that tragedy led me to Jesus instead of away from Him. Despite my messed up theology on the stairs, I chose to run to Him. To slowly but surely find my way back to the Rachel that was best friends with Jessie. The one who loved God more than anything else.

Today, I'm choosing to think of this as the anniversary of the start of my prodi-Gal journey home, instead of one of the worst days of my life.

Even though it's both.

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