Yesterday, I was made aware of two tragedies. The one is a tragedy of death in a family; the other a tragedy of a death of a family. The one was a physical death; the other a hypothetical death.
During the afternoon, I got a phone call that a friend of ours passed away unexpectedly leaving behind a close-knit large family. They were in a foreign country as missionaries for an indefinite time and their son especially had given his heart for it. After battling an infection that was thought to be serious but not deadly, he died as he was being life flighted to another country. I was shocked and couldn't quite grasp that it actually happened.
During the evening, my sister in law and I went to visit a lady and her two children who had become somewhat affiliated with our church through her ex-husband who had been in jail and had attended our jail ministry while there. Since then, he's had a rocky road back to a normal life and has recently pretty much gone to back to where he started. I understand the police have a warrant out for his arrest and he'll be back in jail. Because of lying, stealing and drugs, he has no house, no car, no phone, no job and no life.
I looked at the face of a wife who's husband left her for drugs and sex and only comes around to spend time with the kids once in awhile. I wondered how she can even get out of bed in the morning after having someone she loved, hurt her so bad.
This father of her children is anything but a dad and his words mean nothing because he lies more than he tells the truth. His child support I have to imagine is sporadic and inconsistent because his jobs seem to kind of conform around his bad habits.
Through looking at the house she's bought, the steady life she's provided for her kids, the job she commutes to at quite a distance everyday just to support her family and the way I could see she relates to her kids, I can see clearly that as best as she can she's picked up the pieces and has tried to go on.
Even if her husband did come back, renew his vows and make a 90 degree turn in his life, I would never blame her for not taking him back. The scars on his life from the multiple drugs and I'm sure the multiple sex partners would make it life threatening for her to love him as a wife should love her husband.
This morning, I awoke to my husband getting out of a warm bed and going out in the chilly morning to make a living to support his family. He'll come home tonight and hug and play with his kids, work on his house and show me that he really meant it when he vowed "forsaking all others and cleaving only to your wife."
This broken wife I visited last night, has no assurance of love and devotion. Her dreams are dashed and her hope is gone. Her love is dead.
The family who lost a son and brother can rest in the hope of seeing their loved one some day in heaven; this broken family (from a human stand point) has no hope of ever seeing their husband and dad restored. Both are tragedies and both are heartaches. The one sadness will last forever; the other, only for a time.
What a promise to know that when heaven is my home, earths joys and sorrows are diminished by eternity's light. How thankful I am for the promise of hope.