By Tyler S.
I was born in a religious home. I went to church every Sunday. By age eleven I had heard many times that when we die we can forever be with people we knew on earth.
As great as that was from a theological standpoint, going to church included something better than what I was taught in the classroom. It was who was in the classroom. Almost all my friends went to church with me, including my best friend Daniel. Our families were all very close. We spent a great deal of time at each other’s houses, and whenever we could we got together to do whatever eleven year-olds did. What more could one ask for? Life was simple and fun! I had all the friends I needed!
One day I was at a friend’s house when I suddenly got a phone call from my parents asking me when I was going to be home. My mother was speaking with barely restrained tears. I was filled with dread. What is wrong? That weighed heavily on me all the way home, and with a feeling of intense anxiety I went into my house.
My parents took me into my room, and dad told me one of the things I had always known, that families and friends can be together forever. That gave me the exact opposite of a soothing effect. I thought something must be horribly wrong with mom. I wanted to know what was happening. Then they said something so impossible and so unbelievable it took a few seconds to sink in. My mother was all right, but my best friend in the world, Daniel (the person who, if I could spend every waking second with I would) had been killed in a car accident a few hours before. My eleven-year-old world was torn apart. The words of my father were completely hollow. In those moments and in the weeks and months to come, death seemed like the most final and absolute thing that could ever happen. In a few seconds I went from all the friends I could ever want to what felt like absolutely no friends.
Eight years have passed, and while I wish I could say there was something that consoled me in the moment, I can’t say there was. With time that pain has receded. What I have come to know and to somewhat understand, is that I know my father’s words were true. I know I can be with my best friend and my family forever, and the bitterness and injustice of the death of a loved one can be made right.
Because of this knowledge, something I never would have guessed possible happened. The bitterness and extreme misery that left me was not replaced by a void, but was replaced with peace and knowledge that God has a plan for each of us, even if we don’t understand it fully. This peace certainly does not come overnight, and is not something we can obtain by ourselves. It takes time on our knees in prayer; it takes patience; it requires a willingness to believe in the Divine. This peace and assurance didn’t come from me convincing myself; it was truly a gift from God. I know that when we reach out to Him, even from what we think is the darkest abyss, He reaches back. He gently lifts us from the darkness into the light where we can see our lives more clearly and more peacefully.