By Lisa Huddleston

This week has been a blur.  To begin it, I turned 52 on Sunday, April 14—an infamous day.  Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14th.  The Titanic sank on April 14th.  And for many, April 14th is spent in a hurried, last-ditch effort to get their taxes finished before the 15th.  Oh yeah, and I was born.

It has always niggled at the back of my brain that my birthday coincides with such negative and earth-shattering events.  And now I will always connect it with the bombings at the Boston Marathon.  I’ve told you before how I strive for maximum pessimism so just go with me here.  I know, the bombings happened on April 15th, but that is Tax Day so I already had connected it to my birthday.  (See how nutty I am?  Yeah, it’s all about me.)

What a week!  Emotions run amuck with sympathy for families of those injured or killed as well as for the families of the two young men who carried out the ghastly attacks.  Last night, as the media told of the 19-year-old hiding in a covered boat bleeding and, I assume, terrified, I cried for him and those who love him.  Nineteen is so very young.  An age when idealism is easy to believe and naïve souls are ready to die for unworthy causes.  An age when it is easy to get lost in the devil’s schemes just seeking purpose and a place to belong.

This week also included medical procedures for two members of my family and the worries and concerns that accompany such things.  We received good news on both counts, and I am thankful; yet, my mother’s heart has been squeezed a little too tightly for comfort.  Aching for those I don’t know and worrying for those I do.

And then last night as I watched the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, three texts telling me that another  young man my kids had grown up with had drowned.  The worst realized.  Not in violence.  Not in disease.  Not for most of those who were caught up in the events of the week—but for this family.  A mother, a father, a sister and a brother grieving.  But not without hope.

Oh God, my pessimism is full-blown.  Forgive me.  Help me to see the good.  Help me to feel the hope.  Refocus my inner eyes so that the evil blurs away and the truth is crystallized into blinding clarity.  Jesus came to redeem the lost—to seek us and to save us.  That’s you.  That’s me.  That’s Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and all the runners in all the marathons of life.  Loss redeemed.  Separation, amputation, death.  And, finally, restoration.

And tonight, finally, we will celebrate my infamous birthday with a dinner around a new dining room table with most of my precious family gathered. (I’ll miss you, Chad and Heather!)  A week late, but just in time.

Thank you, Lord, for the simple things I celebrate today.  Good health.  Good provision.  Good family and good friends.  And for goodness sake, help me to celebrate.

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