Growing up with only an older brother, I always wondered what life would be like with a sister. It’s not that Brittani and I we were long lost siblings, but it sure felt that way.
I met Brittani her freshman year of college. I was a junior. We grew close quickly.
It being a private Christian college, the campus was run under certain restrictions. Namely there were to be no girls in guy rooms, nor guys in girl rooms. Yet one day, the four of us guys and Brittani wanted to play Poker. Easily enough, we could have used any community center facilities, but we were a bit more adventurous. We decided to play in my room.
Sneaking Brittani in was the easy part. It was a simple glance down the hallway, followed by a sprint and a locked door. We dealt chips and cards, and our gambling began. A few hands in, there was a knock at my door. It was my RA. Worst case scenarios began to flood my mind. At best I would be charged a fine. Worst, I could lose the various positions I held in Student Life. We quickly threw Brittani under my comforter and she hid between my couch and corner. Rylan, my RA, stepped in.
“Texas Hold ‘Em? Deal me in!”
“Um, well, Rylan, we’re out of chips. We can deal you in next game.”
But he didn’t leave. He continued to stand there. Watching. Our hearts were pounding. Our hands sweaty. Certain, I knew our poker faces would betray us.
Brittani would later tell us that she held her breath for minutes as Rylan watched our game.
“Rylan, do you want us to call you when we start a new game?”
“Sure guys.” And with that he left.
He stepped outside, but stood by our door, talking to passersby. A small crowd formed on the other side of my door. We uncovered Brittani. Her face red from fear, lack of oxygen and regret.
I suggested that we tie my bed sheets together and lower my little sister out of the second story window. There was a strategically placed bush that would break her fall. Out of the five of us, I was the only one who thought this was a good idea. She refused that escape plan.
We decided to call a fellow hall mate, and convince him to fake a crisis. He would then call for Rylan to help 'counsel' him through this crisis. The moment Rylan left the hall, we threw the bedsheets back onto Brittani and ran her down the stairs, passing by a dozen confused onlookers. I turned to them, put my finger to my lips to quiet their questions, and ran down the stairs to retrieve my bed sheets.
I told this story from the stage of Brittani’s memorial service. My little sister was killed in a car wreck on May 2, 2009. Three days before her 23rd birthday. One week before her college graduation. A few short months before she left for training to enter the mission field. On dark days like May 2, 2009, when you lose your little sister, God doesn’t make sense. The most loving, graceful, talented people are killed in accidents so seemingly preventable. I have little advice on how to deal with these situations. I turn to Jesus’ Beatitudes. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
If you have suffered a loss so confusing, so painful, take comfort in that you are not alone in your suffering. Others who have suffered will mourn with you, and you will find comfort. Because of the cross, we can look to Jesus for comfort in our mourning, for he too has suffered. If you find little comfort in others, search for comfort in him.
Finally, read 2 Corinthians 1:3-6. I think you will be surprised at what you find.