AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY
The car my granddaughter was riding in would have cleared the intersection.
Sweet, innocent 10-year-old Tiffany was killed instantly, her brother Michael and her aunt were seriously injured, and many other lives were changed forever.
It's my personal tragedy that I lost a precious granddaughter to this senseless accident; the rest of you suffered a tragedy as well. For lost human potential cannot be regained.
If she had been permitted to live her life to its natural end, she probably would not have discovered the cure for cancer; she probably would not have piloted a manned mission to Mars.
Most likely, my granddaughter would have lived out her life as just another nameless face in the crowd.
Odds are, she would have grown up to be as “ordinary” as the rest of us. But are any of us “ordinary?” Are we not all exceptionally, wondrously unique both in appearance and spirit?
Each of us interacts daily with dozens of people; we affect each of those lives in subtle ways. Perhaps she would have become a schoolteacher, and in that way encouraged some yet unborn child to invent some miraculous something.
She might have become an American president, the president of a large corporation, or, as I suspect, she might have become an influential leader of the Christian faith.
Certainly, she would have become the First Lady of some man's life. Your son's, perhaps? Her grandchildren, what color of hair would they have had? Would they have inherited my own grandfather's eyes, would one of Tiffany's great-great grandchildren have had the Crumley nose?
These and thousands of other questions will remain unanswered. The accident robbed us all of everything this sweet child was and everything she would one day have become.
Why did this tragedy happen? The flippant answer, one that I myself have given to others, is, “Well, that's why they call them accidents.”
But all highway accidents are preventable. All. No exceptions. Mechanical failure cannot always be predicted, true. And vagaries of weather are beyond any human's control.
Investigate any accident deep enough, however, you'll always be able to place blame on something or someone; you'll be able to compile a list of “what if's.”
If the loser hadn't stolen the car.
If the car theft hadn't been discovered for a few hours.
If the deputy had not been so eager to prove himself a good cop.
If my granddaughter had ridden the bus that day.
If one of the cars had run out of gas a hundred yards from the intersection.
If lightning had burned down the school the day before.
If the loser's mother had spanked him at precisely the right moment when he was a toddler.
If, if, if, if, if.
If chickens had wings they could fly across the ocean.
No, we cannot dwell on things that cannot be changed; we cannot assign blame. Not to the drivers themselves, not to the passengers, not to the parents of the guilty. Nor can we blame God.
It's been said that God wiggles an eyebrow or something and orders a tragedy to happen. That He smites the victims of an accident such as this in order to teach some other person that He can do whatever He wishes, that He is to be feared as well as loved.
At my grandchild's wake a well-meaning nephew remarked that this tragedy and all others serve to embellish the glory of God, so for that reason He caused the accident.
Well, I've got news for him. My God is not Muhammed Ali. Certain verses of the bible to the contrary, my God does not stand on a corner shouting I Am The Greatest!
He did not create the universe and populate it with people merely to demonstrate His power. He does not smite the innocent in order to punish the guilty.
My God is the father of us all. Do you spank your children for failing to praise you to their classmates? well, neither does God.
When one of His children stole that car, my God cried. He did not cry for Tiffany because He knew that she would be coming home.
He cried for the car thief who will spend many many years in prison; he cried for the aging gentleman whose excited telephone call to the police instigated a horrible chain of events.
He cried at Tiffany's funeral service, certainly, for He knew that those who loved this child will miss her till the end of their own days.
But most of all He cries for the future of humanity, for He knows that the Earth is a much sadder place without Tiffany, and Tiffany's progeny, in it.
Rest in peace, precious granddaughter. Save a seat for me. I'll join you soon.