Last Sunday our whole community went through a terrible loss, when three members of our tiny little town were killed in an avalanche on Stevens Pass. I'm sure anyone reading this heard about it - it made national news. It was in Tunnel Creek, a drainage that even I have skied before... There are so many details that we will never know, and I won't speculate on what went down. I leave the speculation to the TV stations and newspapers. What I do know is that the three guys were an integral part of Leavenworth, and their loss is acutely felt.
Our last week was spent in mourning. It was hard on our little family as our schedule was thrown totally out of whack and Steve and I dealt with a whole range of emotions we've never had to before in our marriage. It's different when people you love die and they are older and lived a full life.... these guys were young. Sunday and Monday we were numb. We spent Sunday night and parts of Monday in town visiting with Anne (Chris's love) at the home they shared. There was a beautiful torchlight ski held at Ski Hill Wednesday night for all 3 guys. Chris's memorial was Thursday evening. Johnny's was Friday, and Steve is just returning from Jim's as I write this.
Man, what a week.
I didn't know Jim and Johnny well enough to write much about them, though I know they were loved by many. But Chris I knew, Chris... he was a gem. Hilarious. Smart. Wicked awesome skier. This may sound cliche, but he totally drew people to him -- he was SO charismatic! One of the women who spoke at his wake last Thursday put it best I think when she said "He made you feel like he was your biggest fan." And he did, from the lowliest lift-op to his close friends to other ski area managers. I always felt like the best mother, best engineer, and super awesome wife when I was hanging out with him.
I have a lot of memories of that guy -- not the memories that a lot of people share of "shredding pow" together, biking, or being adventurous... no my memories are of normal things -- barbeques, bonfires, PBR, county fair, the Cashmere Brewery, Saugen Saturdays at his cabin, playing with the dogs, and just being. Just living the normal parts of life, together.
And now he's gone, leaving behind a family, a love, and his friends to pick up the pieces.
God is good.
Above all, I believe that God is good.
I do not believe that God takes lives, or that God allows people to die because He doesn’t care. That He plans for some of us to die and not others. I think that sometimes life just happens and sometimes it sucks. God knows what this feels like. I believe He gave His only son to be killed for the rest of us – to make up for all the stupid crap that we all do. He didn’t stop it, and it grieved Him horribly. He knows what this feels like.
I believe that God watches what happens here on earth and He grieves. Sobs. Desires that he could comfort those on earth. Waiting for them to reach out to Him.
What a precious time this is for God. Those who are usually silent and ignore Him in all aspects, are crying out to Him, angry. So angry. And He listens, sobbing, because He wants to comfort them, if only they will let Him. He allows their pain, manifested, to be entirely directed at Him, because he is so grateful that they are finally talking to Him, a break in the silence. Anything is better than silence.
This is how I saw God this week. As I watched other hearts breaking, and felt mine being wrenched open, I knew He was there. Not absent in the pain. Just waiting to comfort. Wanting to comfort. What peace I felt each time I took my grief to Him. In fact the only times I felt peace all week were after times of prayer. And boy did I pray for the others who were grieving, praying that they could feel that same peace.
So I will continue to pray for those left behind. Because it sucks being left behind.
Cheers to you Chris,
You kicked ass while you were here,
and I am happy to have been a little part of it.
Thanks for that.
Stevens Pass will not be the same without you.