When I received the call at 2:58, Thursday, with news that my cousin Tyson Larson was killed in an accident in his lab in Simi Valley, Anton Chekhov’s words– were all I could think:
Behind the door of every contented, happy man there ought to be someone standing with a little hammer and continually reminding him with a knock that there are unhappy people, that however happy he may be, life will sooner or later show him its claws, and trouble will come to him– illness, poverty, losses, and then no one will see or hear him, just as now he neither sees nor hears others. But there is no man with a hammer. The happy man lives at his ease, faintly fluttered by small daily cares, like an aspen in the wind– and all is well.
I have had a blessed life. Unlike thousands of others, before Thursday I had never lost a close loved one. I was the happy man in Chekov’s parable.
But after the call, the pounding of the hammer got my attention. Shaky knees, broken voice– a strange sense of fear and nervousness and pain– I got into my car to go home. I could think of nothing else to do.
As I drove, the flood of emotions were unlike anything I’ve ever felt. The people walking down the street were too happy. The guy in the truck had his music playing too loud. I wanted to scream, Don’t you all get it? I’m in pain, here! My family is suffering! Can’t you see how much this hurts?
But of course, they can’t hear me or my thoughts.
And on they go, like an aspen in the wind– faintly fluttered by small daily cares.
I don’t mean to sound angry at the people who don’t understand the pain. They simply can’t. It’s just amazing how immediately everything else in the world seems completely unimportant; the world is seen anew with fresh, tear-filled eyes– ones that now understand real pain. And it’s hard not to blame the world for being blind to it all.
One thing is for sure– death is a part of the curse of sin. It is certain that for those in Christ death no longer has it’s sting. For all who repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ there is salvation.
Saturday night I had to go back to my home church in Fallbrook to lead worship Sunday morning. One of the last songs we sang was In Christ Alone. I could barely make it through the final verse:
No guilt in life, no fear in death– this is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns or calls me home;
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
For Tyson, there is no fear in death. When Tyson was called home, he stood before God justified by the power of Christ. And the reason why I could hardly sing that final verse was not because of sadness, hopelessness, or despair– it was because those words have never felt so real. Ty stood guiltless before the throne.
And now he’s home.