I still hate this day - JJ Landis
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I still hate this day

This post was first published on July 9, 2014. I am reposting in memory and honor of those involved. The accident happened one year ago today.

I hate this day

A best friend of a close friend’s daughter died suddenly yesterday in a ridiculous accident near our house that was not her fault. I haven’t stopped shaking since I heard the news and I didn’t even know the girl. My heart is broken for my young friend.


High school graduation was less than a month ago. Now a life of one of the hopeful graduates is gone. For no reason.


Trying to figure out what to do to help. Keep checking in with my friend to see what I can do to help her or her daughter. Of course – there is nothing I can do to make anything better.


I perused flowers.com in search of a gift. Somehow sending sympathy flowers to an 18-year-old seems wrong. And besides flowers, what do you do when someone dies? There are also sympathy gift baskets full of food. Ugh.


Last night while my family was at Bible school, about six hours after the midday accident, a quick storm blew through which produced the most magnificent double rainbow I’ve ever seen. As happens with rainbows, Instagram and Facebook exploded with pictures of the sky. While it was fabulous and breathtaking to see in person and then again online, I am not ready to stomach comments about God’s promise. About God being in control.


I know in my head what I believe about how the world works. I know we’re fallen and sin screws us up. I know people die, but seriously, it really sucks.


A drunk person at 2 in the afternoon smashed headfirst into this young girl’s car. Are you kidding me??? On a road I was on at the exact time, just a mile or two in front of her, innocently going about my life picking up my daughter’s 8-yr-old friend for a playdate.


Life is so unfair and uncertain. Most things happen with no explanation or justification. I am repeatedly disgusted and irritated when people say “all things happen for a reason.” The only reason this happened was because someone made horrific choices, and many lives were obliterated in the process.


Why do some people escape from their mistakes without deadly repercussions and others don’t? I have no clue. I am no better than the drunk driver, for sure. (I drove drunk many times.)


Not sure what I will end up “doing” for my sweet neighbors who have lost a best friend. Flowers, gift baskets. Prayers. Conversations. Hugs. All of it sounds kind of futile at this point.


What about the many teenage friends of this girl? What is going to happen to their lives? Will they develop faith in God? Will they turn their back on a God who would allow this? Life isn’t fair – blah blah blah – they all know that. But what will they do with this? Will they rush toward God? Will they run the other way? Will they take a path of destruction? Will they take the path of righteousness? Will they hate? Will they forgive?


All I know to do in this moment is to pray. But I don’t know what to say or ask. So I am putting my earbuds in and going for a run. I will let the familiar lyrics of my favorite Skillet, Casting Crowns, etc. songs blast my brain. I will ask God to heal the brokenhearted. To bring comfort. We all live one day at a time. What I will pray for my sweet 18-year-old friend is for peace. For today. And then for tomorrow.

  • Jo
    Posted at 15:30h, 08 July Reply

    Such a hard situation. I was 15 (in 1989) when my brother died in a car accident while working with MCC in Nicaragua. Not a drunk driver, but an inexperienced one. My youth group sent me a planter. The vine is still alive and well in my dining room after 25 years. It’s a frequent reminder that someone cared enough to reach out, even in a small way, during a really hard time.

    • JJ Landis
      Posted at 09:02h, 09 July Reply

      Thanks for writing about this. Any act of love is an act of love! I’m so sorry for your loss.

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