I spent Saturday evening and all day yesterday with Evelyn Husband Thompson. Her husband Rick was the commander of Space Shuttle Columbia which disintegrated on reentry on February 1, 2003.
As she was leaving our home yesterday, we talked about yet another family grieving over the suicide of a beautiful young woman. We noticed how much Death pops up in our daily conversation. This didn’t happen Before.
Before…we were blissfully ignorant. Now we know bad things happen to good people. And we know that God is near to broken-hearted.
Before…we didn’t think about planning funerals or picking out headstones. Now we know how hard these choices are. We know we have to trust God and lean to Him for wisdom and strength every single day.
Before…we thought we knew what our family would look like twenty years down the road: kids grown and married and happy; us with our spouses playing with grandkids. Now we know that only God holds the future in His hands. We’ve learned to trust Him in all things, even the death of those we love.
Before…we weren’t the Go To people when a friend lost a loved one. Now we know how to pray for the bereaved. And pray we do, with tears and hurting hearts because we know what pain they face. And we know that God is able to heal the broken-hearted.
Before…we didn’t get jealous when someone received miraculous healing or came out of an accident unscathed. Now we feel twinges of envy. We don’t stay there; remaining jealous would be sin, but the feelings pop up at times. We both know that Gos is good and does good. And we know we can trust our Heavenly Father.
Before…we weren’t heartbroken each and every time we heard of a spouse or child dying. Now we know what the family is facing. We know we have been comforted by God in our affliction in order that we may comfort others in any affliction.
Before…the mention of space or dance brought joy. Now that joy is accompanied by sadness. We know that joy and sadness can coexist. And we know this sadness will become easier to bear; it has become easier to bear over time.
Before…well, Before we were both different people. Now we have been changed. Some of those changes are for the better. Some have been hard to accept. We both rely on God in ways we did not Before.
So much has changed since Before, but some think did not change…We are both grateful for Jesus Christ and His redemption. We both know that because of Jesus we will see our loved ones again. And we know we have eternal life in Christ. These things were true Before and they will never change.
If you’d like to learn more about Rick Husband, get Evelyn’s book “High Calling” and read about their lives together and Evelyn’s life After.