The impact of metal on metal. The unexpected jerk in a different direction. Glass shatters. A driver has disobeyed the laws of the road and collided with your vehicle. Fight or flight. Your body floods with adrenaline. Your mind briefly flashes like a "system reset". Then begins your reaction.
Life is going well. The holidays have wrapped up successfully, and family was together. Then you get the call. That person in your life. One of those beautiful, shining lights that you loved. The one who you could count on to be there and who was a gentle but influential soul. That person has gone to be with Jesus and your time with them on earth is through.
One of the coolest classes I took in High School was Physics. Learning about all of the different forces in the world that would need to be taken into account in order to accomplish something was fascinating. It opened my eyes to things that were out of my control but needed to be considered. The death of a loved one is like a traumatic event. You can never really know how it feels like or how you will react until it happens. As my great-grandmother said, "you are never really ready."
God has been reminding me of some serious "forces" lately. Today I broke down. I heard huge sobs escaping from my normally stoic self. Tears have very little validation when you are crying alone and there is no one to wipe them away. Wipe them away. I've heard that before, something in Revelation about God, Himself will forever wipe away tears someday when He restores His kingdom. Great! But what about us right now??
A very wise person once told me that God uses the valleys and the lowest times in our lives to teach us the biggest lessons. God drops these unexpected things in our lives, then gives us the free-will to react. I've reacted, then reacted again. I've responded and messed things up. Now I'm on my knees and He is teaching me that from the beginning, He was there and ready to help me through the pain and struggling.
My loved one was my Sweet, Uncle Carlton. He has fought long and hard with cancer. He has the "McLarty Spirit", full of adventure-wielding action often involving white-waters. I am certain he had so many more adventures planned, but his body was worn from fighting the forces beyond his control and his reaction was to peacefully embrace his family and prepare for heaven. He left a powerful legacy etched into the world and his family.
Today I got our of work and realized my family would be joined on the other side of the country to remember the life of my uncle and I would not. Not only was I exhausted from work and the recent valleys, but the flooding of emotions brought me to my knees. While down there, my sweet Momma called me. Despite the miles and miles between us, I felt her reach down and pull me up with her words. She wiped away the tears, teased me about my mascara smears, then pointed my eyes toward God. This is the same God that comforted Job in his sorrow. The same God who sacrificed His most precious Son. The same God who is sharing His heaven with my Uncle and myself someday. The same God who was waiting for me to turn towards him with my tears and show me the forces that I could not see.
Carlton is loved by so many and his life will be remembered today and so many days in the future. People all over the US will mourn his passing and smile with his memory.