January 31st, 2000, 4:36 pm pst.
Ring…Ring…Ring… “Hello?” “Pastor Melinda? This is Rory, I don’t want to alarm you, but a plane has crashed returning from Mexico.” “Rory, you must be wrong, check it out and call me back.” Melinda hangs up the cell phone and calls out to me. We turn on KOMO
4 in Seattle. What we see is a snowy picture of a Coast Guard helicopter hovering over the water. The anchor says, “Flight 261 has gone into the pacific ocean.” I turned to Rachel, who was with us, and asked, “Rachel, is that their flight number?” She was pale and replied, “It is Jeff.”
Fifteen minutes earlier my mom and dad along with 86 other people perished on Flight 261. My life changed forever.
I learned a lot about grief, tragedy, God and the life! Here are a few of my thoughts, I personally experienced through the loss of my mom and dad who were my friends, parent’s, pastors, employers, and so much more. Here are 11 thoughts from my experience.
1. Tragedy was a sign to me that God expected something new of me.
2. Though I wanted to hide, God did not want me to separate from His love.
3. My response to tragedy lead to His reward.
4. When tragedy happened to me I needed to identify who was on my team.
5. Tragedy is Temporary.
6. Triumph brings Joy.
7. Prepare for Tragedy.
8. Tragedy is the time to stand on God’s Word and take authority!
9. When Tragedy knocks at your door, worship God!
10. Pass the Tragedy and receive the Triumph.
11. In the midst of tragedy, be strong and of good courage!
Reflections from today 01.31.07:
I still miss mom and dad regularly; it makes me cry.
I still have dreams about them; it makes me nervous they are coming back to lead the church and they won’t like what they have found. Funny huh?
I still hear their words of encouragement; it makes me press on.
I still feel my parent’s love; it helps me pastor.
I can’t remember the sound of their voices; it makes me appreciate video and audio recording.
I see my parent’s in my sister; it makes me smile.
I see their leadership in our elders; it makes me proud.
I see their spiritual sons and daughters in the church; it makes me believe.
I love to hear their stories; it makes me laugh.
I love to see their pictures; it makes me remember.
I love to follow in their footsteps; it gets me out of bed each day.
I see the fruit of their life; it makes me grateful.
I am thankful they lead me to Jesus; it makes me secure.
I feel privileged to have had 29 years with mom and dad; it gave me foundation.
To all those who have lost loved ones tragically may the Lord comfort you in your time of mourning. I know He has me.