As we prayed last week as individuals, as a family, as a community, we prayed for those who have been impacted by the train accident at Hoboken Terminal. We prayed for the 34-year-old mother who died in the crash and the husband, toddler and family she left behind. We prayed for more than 100 neighbors who were injured. We prayed for those who served as police, rescue teams and hospital workers. We prayed for everyone who was affected by the accident in one way or another. But it didn’t feel like enough.
I felt grateful that my loved ones were spared; I cherished the time with my spouse more than usual; and I held my children even closer. I’m sure you did, too. We feel an intense gratitude that we have an opportunity to, and because that opportunity has been taken from others, it feels selfish. But we do it anyway because it feels safe. We want that to be enough. But it isn’t.
This past month has been heavy for many of us. Prior to the tragedy of the train accident, I had already been wrestling with heartbreak. A friend is living though every parent’s worst nightmare: the loss of a child. My friend Stephanie had learned at the 20-week ultrasound that she was expecting a baby GIRL! What she didn’t expect was that her baby would be diagnosed with a congenital heart disease — one that would require several open-heart surgeries once [if] she safely arrived.
Months later, we welcomed Baby Madison, and it seemed that all of Hoboken cheered as she survived various surgeries upon birth. Unfortunately, her condition continued to worsen, and it was eventually determined that she’d need a heart transplant. The community of Hoboken came together in a way that I’ve never experienced to raise funds, awareness and prayers. In the end, Madison’s little heart simply could not endure anymore. Hoboken gathered together again to weep, to pray and to embrace Stephanie and her husband, Matt, as they said goodbye to their 3-month-old daughter. Sadly, Madison is the third infant we’ve mourned together. A mutual friend had lost her twin preemies a year earlier. She is currently on bed rest, desperately holding onto another pregnancy, as we continue to grieve together.
I feel worried for these women who I love so deeply; I feel angry that the sorrow continues to pile on for our tiny circle; I feel uneasy that more afflictions will happen when we are already so broken. In fact, I put off writing this post because I am fighting a reflex to run away — to someplace where I can feel safer; where I can rest; where I can find peace.
There are two Bible verses that I refer to when I simply cannot quiet my own fears.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7
That is when I am reminded that the comforts I am seeking can only be found in my faith in God. He does not promise us that our lives will be void of pain. He does promise that we will not endure our pains alone. He will comfort us as our Father. And that is enough.