Yes, It's All Part of God's Big Plan
A terrible thing happened here, for sure, but this reads like a sermon. I really can't believe an article like this was printed in a major metropolitan newspaper.
Sometimes God's answer is no
Little Dylan's death taught my family a lesson
August 9, 2007 BY DONNA RICHARDSON
It was my oldest nephew's wedding -- 07-07-07 -- the first of the next generation of our family to wed and a high-point of celebration for the Richardson clan.
In a mini-tux was our youngest nephew, the ring-bearer, all of 7 years old, reluctantly but resolutely crooking his elbow out for the flower girl to grasp so he could escort her down the aisle as rehearsed. Her sweet face held a look that revealed she wasn't liking this any more than he was. But setting aside their childish desires to run in the opposite direction, they performed one of their very first grown-up responsibilities and helped to make the day extra special for all who observed them.
For our young nephew, Dylan, it was also one of the last things he would do. Four days later he was severely injured in a car accident in which his mother also was hurt. Two days later he was pronounced brain-dead by doctors at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
» " class="enlarge_pic">Click to enlarge image " class="enlarge_pic"> Dan Richardson holds a cast of the right hand of his son Dylan.
(Heather Eidson/Beacon News)
» " class="enlarge_pic">Click to enlarge image " class="enlarge_pic"> Dylan Richardson's family cherishes the cast of their young son's hand.
It was a stunning blow to all of us; a nightmare that we still can't quite get our brains wrapped around and that we still hope to wake up from at any minute. We were in shock, denial and disbelief even as we drove to be with him and his family; even as we saw his little body lying in his hospital bed -- leg broken, facial lacerations, and tiny head in a cast because doctors had to cut away part of his skull to allow his swelling brain someplace to go.
His big brothers, 17-year-old Nick and 14-year-old Bryan, were standing vigil with their dad and mom (who was treated and released, but definitely still in shock). Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and close family friends alternately stood quietly about the room, and then continued talking and crying in the family waiting area so as not to disturb Dylan with our fears and anguish.
There were numerous instrument panels showing nearly everything his little body was doing in his struggle to survive. I watched as his heartbeat played out the rhythm of our prayers, numbly automatic -- and yet still intensely desperate -- as we slowly began to grasp the reality of the situation: God, please! God, please! God, please! God, please ...
We prayed and prayed, alone and together, with and without the hospital chaplain. We believed God would give him back to us; after all, he was just 7 years old. We just couldn't seem to allow ourselves to believe that we were really going to lose Dylan.
But we did. One week after the accident, loved ones attended his funeral.
It was a beautiful memorial for the baby of the family on both sides, and people were very supportive -- cards, flowers and notes of condolence were even sent by strangers. But the sad fact remains: Our families have a Dylan-shaped hole, and we will never be the same again.
And our faith has been challenged, too. What kind of God lets a little boy die when He could perform a miracle and save him? How are we to go on without Dylan, and -- just as importantly, how are we to go on with God?
We have a choice of how we view this incomprehensible tragedy. We can say God did it. We can say God didn't do it but didn't stop it, either. We can focus on our loss and feel abandoned by God when we needed Him most.
Or, we can realize that every good thing in this fallen world is a gift of grace from His hand, however short the time it is allowed to us. We can choose to believe that when time is no more and we walk with God in eternity, the heavy journey through the rest of our lives here on Earth without Dylan will seem but the mere blinking of an eye. We can believe in God's ultimate "yes."
As we prayed for God's miracle and came to realize that His answer was "no," we grieved. And we will continue to grieve, because what happened was horrible and our loss is so painful. But we also believe that a great reunion is coming someday when God Himself will present Dylan to us whole again and happy. We believe that, even when it seems God isn't listening and even when we entertain doubts as to whether He's really even there, God does hear and is answering our prayers.
We then have to choose whether to continue to believe in His goodness and love for us. And it's ultimately that choice that determines for each one of us whether God's "no" is just for this brief time on earth, or whether it's for eternity.Donna Richardson is a community columnist for the Beacon News.
"The powerful have always created false images of the weak."