The accident happened late on Friday afternoon. By Saturday morning, my world was upside down. I awoke to find most of my family at the foot of my bed. The whole scene was like a nightmare. I would have asked them as much but the hospital room and the wires attached to my body confirmed what I already feared--my wife was gone. The accident was real.
There's something really scary about waking from the deep sleep that medicines bring. You awake wondering what part of your life you have missed and what's been going on while you were out of it. I've had those chemically induced sleeps before. This one was different. While I slept, little had changed. My wife was dead. My youngest child was in a hospital three hours away. And my other two children were away from me--the last thing I desired. So, as my mind cleared from the medicines, I began to work feverishly to ascertain the events of the last 24 hours.
Someone sent for Harrison. Like me, he had been kept overnight at the hospital for observation. I prepared to tell him the news that his mother was gone. How do you do that? How do you look your nine year old in the eye and tell him the most important person in his life will never be by his side again...ever? Then, this thought struck me as I waited. Every plan he ever had--let's face it, every plan any of us had--was changed irrevocably. Sarah would never see Abby graduate from First Grade. Harrison would never hear his mom pray for him as he was tucked in at night. I wouldn't get to grow old with this woman that I loved so deeply. I think there, in that hospital room, was the first time that I had this thought--my plans were just that...my plans. However grand they seemed, however wonderful they were in my eyes, God's plan was somehow different.
The next few months--scratch that--the next several years of my life would be a radical transformation of understanding what that meant. It would become a moment-by-moment, month-by-month course in the realization that this life is not about me nor my dreams.
Here is a lesson I am continuing to learn, to work through, to process. Peace isn't about having all your dreams come true. It's about realizing that all your dreams have already come true in Christ Jesus, you just didn't have the right dreams in mind. And when you learn to claim the mind of Christ as your own, that's when you learn to be at peace with every single thing life brings you.
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord. "And my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine." Isaiah 55:8 NLT