I flipped on the tv this afternoon and was shocked to see my former Weight Watchers teacher (who just sent me a card telling me that her arms were open to welcome me back...I haven't been since Thanksgiving) on Oprah.
I quickly understood why. Her son was Jason Ray, the Chapel Hill mascot who was killed when a car hit him as he walked along the side of a road in New Jersey at a game. He went to First Assembly as a kid and my mom remembers when he was in kindergarten there. His death made major headline news here. Charlotte had talked about Jason often during our meetings and recently did an ESPN special about him. She would ask if anyone saw it and how did they think it went. She continuously commented on how something really good came out of something really bad. Jason was an organ donor and the ripple effect of that was huge. That's why ESPN and Oprah took notice. His organs went to save at least 3 other people and inspired others to become donors. One family came who lost a son 2 weeks after Jason's death. He was inspired by Jason's story, convinced his brother to become a donor and was a donor himself.
I think what I'm most moved by is the faith of Charlotte, her husband Emmitt, their son Jason, and several of the organ recipients and family that Jason inspired. If you heard what they said about their loss and gain, you heard something close to the gospel. They spoke about eternal life, their Heavenly Father, and their gratefulness for His goodness to them. You just don't hear that on Oprah everyday and it gives testimony to our amazing Father. His grace in the midst of great pain and tragedy, that He's for us and His children He's already taken home. His great wisdom even in young, shocking, seemingly untimely death....and our great hope because of that. His good plan. His right rule.
It gives me comfort and faith to watch people grieve such tremendous loss (one of my worst fears) under the sweet grace and sustaining hope that God provides in that moment. He makes it possible for me to lose my son at the age of 21 and still have great reason for hope, peace and joy in the God who is for us and the glorious future we have.
You can read about their story here. Click on "Ray of Hope."