Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Accidents and grace

My son was supposed to go on a skiing trip with his boy scout troop last weekend. I was so nervous about letting him go, for many reasons. Something just didn't feel right, and I couldn't shake it. I had already told him it was okay for him to go, and we'd borrowed the money from my mom and started planning for it. But like I told her, I just felt wrong about the whole thing, but I couldn't stop it as I had already told him he could go.

Wednesday he got sick. Thursday he was diagnosed with the flu. Needless to say, we gave up his spot on the trip. I knew he was disappointed, but I said a quick prayer of thanks to God for letting him get the flu. I knew it was irrational, but I was relieved and happy he was safe at home with me.

Today I heard from the parent of another scout. He said "Well you sure are lucky Nick got the flu. Did you hear what happened on the ski trip?" No, I hadn't heard anything, but thought maybe he was going to tell me they'd had bad weather or everyone had gotten food poisoning or something. "This boy, Thomas Sowell, fell while learning to snowboard. He got dragged down the slope by the snowboard. He has serious brain injury and is in a coma."

This child, another 15 year old, is in a coma. I cannot shake the horrible sick feeling I've had ever since he told me this news. I keep thinking about my fears about the trip, and how I knew I was going to have to let Nick go even though I was terribly worried. I imagined me telling him goodbye at the door as he left, telling myself it would be okay. I imagined me talking myself out of worries, and watching him pack his underwear and toothbrush and kissing me goodbye. All those things I would have felt had he gone, this child's mother felt as she kissed her son goodbye. She told herself it would be okay, that she had to let him grow up, that she would see him soon and would be able to breathe again.

But none of that happened. Her son is in a coma, he might die, he may never talk or recognize her again. She packed his underwear and made sure he had warm gloves and a hat for skiing. She gave him money to spend at McDonald's on the way to North Carolina. She told him to take pictures and to try not to stay up all night. She prayed hard for him to be safe, and kissed him as he climbed into the car. And she may never see him again.

Why does this happen? How can God be this cruel? How can an innocent child leave his parents to go on a short vacation with his boy scout troop, and never come back? I am so upset and I honestly don't know how to deal with it. I don't know why I am so affected, but that poor mother and father, and that poor boy. I just want to throw up.

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