The title of this blog post was part of a sermon that Rev. J. Herbert Nelson gave during Montreat College Conference. This sermon was among others that produced a pill that was rather hard to swallow. The idea that God didn’t cause your family member to die was a strange and powerful concept for me to learn.
Being home for the holidays was a strange time. While it was good to be home, celebrate Christmas and see my friends, my family also went through the loss of a loved one. Our dog Boo was put to sleep while I was home after the cancer in his chest, that we didn’t know about, had spread and caused his heart to fill up with fluid and not circulate blood properly. What a way to end my holiday break. I was supposed to fly home to New Orleans on a Friday, but after Boo was put to sleep, I couldn’t get myself together enough to leave.
In a way, it was good. I got to see two of my best friends some more and talk with them about it. Mostly talk about how angry and upset I was. I went through that weekend upset at the loss of my dog, and mad at God about why He decided to take Boo right after Christmas.
I went to Montreat still kinda bummed about my dog, but while I was there, a few things started happening. The first was being in a house with a group of college kids from Baton Rouge who were great friends to me. Second was a lunch appointment that I had with an excellent friend and mentor, Adlai Boyd. Adlai had suggested Maryville College to me and even got the wheels turning during the application process. I told him about the issues that I had been having and he understood my need to grieve but also gave me advice that was incredibly helpful. He said that it was okay and necessary to grieve, but that he believes that God didn’t cause my dog to die, that my dog just died. That was interesting because as I said earlier, Rev. J. Herbert Nelson’s sermon later in the conference was very similar. If you live long enough you will get sick. If you live long enough, you will die. And if you live long enough, you will get sick and die.
I left Montreat feeling better about everything that happened. After a long trip back to New Orleans involving a tire change on the side of the interstate I got back to my “regular life.” It was almost difficult going back. I’m so used to summers after high school where I spend some time at home, then go to Montreat, then go back home. But it was different this time. January brought the completion of my first home and the realization that my YAV year in New Orleans was only half over.
The feeling of my year coming to a close didn’t truly sink in until I started to receive emails about going to Maryville College for scholarship interviews. It felt like I had just turned in my applications for my scholarships, and now I had to get ready to go interview for them.
My interviews were today actually, and I felt confident about how I did. There were tough questions. Things like, “What would you, as a young adult, want to tell the church about college aged people and young adults.” I felt much more comfortable in the Bonner Scholarship interview, being asked questions like: what qualities makes me a good leader, what would my family say is a bad quality of mine, and what is the hardest part about community service. All were things that I could easily relate to my YAV year.
So now as I sit at home in Charlotte, NC anxiously waiting to hear about scholarships, and I am also excited to get back to New Orleans. I realize once again the importance of Rev. J. Herbert Nelson’s sermon. That life happens. That in this life there will be troubles, trials, and tribulations, but the important thing is that we face the troubles with the Lord by our side. So tomorrow I will board that plan not knowing what the next 5 months will bring, but I will know that life will go on and that I will never walk the path alone.
[Below: Photo of Eric welcoming Ms. Taylor and her family home!]