When the Bad Things Happen

Our little town is hockey filled.  The season here just ended actually.   We have everything from the Timbit Teams, which are as young as 4 years old, to the senior hockey teams and puddle hockey teams.  We too have a team in our provincial hockey league, filled with young people so eager to begin their lives.

The kids on our teams contribute to the community, volunteering at events.  They fundraise for their trips.  As they get older, they mentor the younger kids.  And then they go on to adulthood, many of them continuing to contribute to the game and the community that gave them so much growing up.  They coach, they mentor, they volunteer and they put their kids into the same sport that helped to shape their lives.

Our entire country is reeling from the news of a catastrophic accident that happened earlier this month.  I don’t know the exact details of how the vehicles managed to collide, and really, that’s not the important part.  Lives have been permanently changed.  Or ended.

We can imagine all to easily how it would be for us if we were suffering through this.

There was a hockey team bus, filled mostly with teenagers, some who were graduating this June.  Some of them maybe a year older, maybe a year younger.  All of them teammates.  All of them family to each other. 

There were coaches, an announcer and a young woman there to assure their physical/muscular difficulties would be taken care of.  There were people who were new to the team, and others who had been there for their whole career.

And none of them will ever be the same again.  14 lives were lost of the 29 that were on the bus.  Countless family members and friends had their lives altered the exact moment those vehicles met.  An entire community has been rocked.  And our whole country grieves.

I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through right now.  But do you know what I have seen?  Love.  Tears.  People praying.  Our town, 2 entire provinces over, has a memorial to the victims, both the living and the deceased. 

The majority of us didn’t even know there was a hockey team from Humboldt, much less know any of the team members.  That isn’t the important part.  The important part is that our hearts are breaking right along with them, simply as human beings.  And when the bad things happen, you want to help.  Even if you can’t. 

There are no words that can change what happened.  There is no possible way we can bring them back, or erase the pain that those left behind are facing.  But through our actions, we can show that we care.  That those lives, they matter.  And so we show with our actions, as small as they may seem to be.

We wore our jerseys on Thursday.  I have a little guy with a big heart, but who hates to dress up for things.  Unless there is candy involved anyways.  He didn’t want to put his jersey on until I showed him the hundreds of pictures of people all over the world wearing theirs.  I explained that there was no way we could heal their hearts or bring back their loved ones, but if we could do one small thing to show them that they were loved, we needed to do it.  Those lives were important and we had to show them that we knew they were hurting, and that those lives mattered.

We hug our loved ones a little bit tighter, grateful that we can.  We think of those around us, realizing how blessed we are to still have them with us.  And we show support to those that need it.  We become the helpers, just like Mr. Rogers used to say.   He is well known for a quote saying that when bad things happened when he was a little boy, his mother used to tell him to look for the helpers.  There are always helpers.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for sacrificing your one and only Son for us, so that we would know you.  I pray that all of those who are lost and hurting right now would feel your presence stronger than they have ever felt it before.  I ask that you would open our eyes to the ways we can help those around us, and to encourage our hearts to want to do those very things.  I pray that we would all begin to slow down and spend more time with people, not working for things.  And I pray that all of those affected by this would be drawn closer to you, even in the hardest moments.  In faith I pray.  Amen.

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