Yesterday was a very sad day in our lives and the lives of our dear friends Katie and David. Unfortunately, the pain won't just last a day either.
Katie and David are in our small group and have been our friends since before we were married. We met at church and just clicked. We love doing life with them. Recently, Katie accepted a new job... at the same company I work for. She has an incredible brain and work ethic, and she is type A and organized, so it has been just WONDERFUL working with her. With the 2 of us working in sync, but on separate tasks, we manage to get 10 times more things done... and it's just the beginning.
Anyway, yesterday we were at work, and you could tell something was "off" with Katie. I began asking her what was wrong and she explained that her Dad was missing and she was sending the police to his door. (He lives about an hour and a half south of us.) As the story kept unfolding, it didn't sound good, and honestly, we began thinking though the worst possible scenarios. Our boss is a very wise and godly man and gave very clear advice on why Katie should go down there immediately and meet the police. I rode with her, and I'm grateful that Chad was in Atlanta working, so we picked him up on our way through the city and took him with us.
When we arrived, two officers were already there, and since Katie is the "next of kin"- with her permission, they could knock down the door and go in. As soon as this happened, her worst fears were confirmed- Katie's dad, Dave Cannon, was dead. He had been dead for many days. Katie's mother met us there, so Katie, her mom, Chad and I just stood there and watched the story unfold and many lives be changed forever. We know God is sovereign and that God is good, but this is tragic, nonetheless.
The house was considered a "crime scene" for several hours, just normal protocol. It was eventually decided that he died of a heart attack or stroke, instantly, without any pain. Although this siutation is horrifying, knowing he just went to be with God, without suffering, is very comforting.
(Katie's husband, David, was in the midst of taking finals, and was unreachable for several hours. But he was able to get to Katie by yesterday afternoon. Katie's younger sister, Amy, was at band camp. Katie and her mom went to tell Amy what had happened after all of this.)
Once we were released from the scene, I drove Katie up the road to find a bathroom, before she began making plans about how to handle everything. She looked over at me and said "You agreed to do life with me, not death- I'm really sorry you're having to be apart of this." She then began the "business" side of being the executor of the estate and talking about the funeral. She was really worried about making sure the service honored her dad. I stopped her and pointed out that the service should celebrate his life, it should speak Truth into the hearts of Katie and her sister, and it should be a time to worship our Heavenly Father. Instantly, her shoulders relaxed, and I think for a minute, she actually felt the peace of God. Then it was like a floodgate had been opened and she started running through how loving her father was, how big his heart was, how much he cared for her and Amy, and it was a very sweet moment.
At the time, I was just in robot mode. But when I got home last night and began processing the day, I began to analyze all of it a little more. I had held my dear friend when she found out her father was dead, I cried and prayed with her in the 100 degrees temps of south Georgia as the story unfolded. And I will continue to love on her and grieve with her over the next days, weeks, and months to come- what a blessing!
This is why God set up the church- this is why God set up community- we need it to live- when need it to stand with us. And when you're in relationships with others, then it isn't hard to walk through death and tragedy, because it comes naturally, our of love. Our small group consists of 3 other couples as well, who were praying as we drove to the house. They continued praying when we received bad news, and they began organizing on the home front. None of us feel what Katie feels- but we love Katie- and we are doing life AND death with her. And my point is that because we are in "this" together-- whatever "this" may consist of-- that even when "this" gets hard, it's easy to support each other.
If you don't already have one, you need a support network. You need a body of believers who are committed to speaking truth into your life, even when it's not what you want to hear, and are willing to walk with you, daily. God created it and called us to it because he knew we needed it
What a blessing to be able to walk with friends through this.
And lastly, please pray for Katie and her sister Amy, as they deal with the tasks and heartache associated with such a loss. The have a very small family and need the body of Christ loving them, praying for them, and speaking Truth into them. Thanks friends!