Monday evening I was in the gym with my son’s basketball team and two other teams practicing. The gym echoed with the bouncing of balls, the squeak of shoes, the shouts of boys and coaches. Then silence suddenly came.
The coach of the varsity team, David Hartman, received news that his daughter had been in an automobile accident on icy roads. His nine year-old grandson, Skyler, a player on our elementary team, was in the car also and had been instantly killed.
I embraced David as soon as I heard. The feeling of his sobbing, heaving chest with its broken heart against mine stayed with me even after he rushed to see his daughter. That sensation still remains. I will never forget it.
There is a basketball season, but there are also other seasons. Ecclesiastes says there is “a time to die…a time to weep…a time to mourn…a time to be silent.” Practice stopped, but men and boys prayed and cried quietly. The games this weekend were cancelled, though it meant the end of a shortened season for most of the boys. None are complaining. Tonight we will gather for prayer instead of the game. Instead of shouts and echoes, there will be sobs and embraces.
In the pain and silence, God is present. Skyler went to be with the Savior he trusted. His mother Rebekah is beginning the slow process of healing from her own broken body and heart, trying to get to the point where she can attend her son’s funeral. Many in our community have shown an outpouring of concern and prayers. Ministers, usually divided by denominational beliefs and schedules, have fellowshipped and cried together. Peace and love amidst tragedy reign. Christ’s name is being praised.
God spoke from heaven to His Son on important occasions. Yet at Christ’s death heaven was silent and dark. Then the veil in the temple was ripped in two from top to bottom, a symbol not only of access but grief. God’s people can now come freely and quietly to the One who welcomes – for He knows – grief and a broken heart.