Sunday Night brought home the reality of true tragedy and living Christianity. The story focused on the story of a family, the Blake family, whose daughter, Emily, was involved in a bus crash in 2009. The accident left Emily with multiple skull fractures, severe brain injury, lung contusions and a fractured left femur.
The documenting of the family's love and care for their daughter – the happy, pig-tailed, nine-year-old primary schooler who hopped on the bus one day only to find life as she knew it curtailed – was a beautiful thing to witness; yet another reason for parents to celebrate the gift of their able-bodied, healthy children.
"We went to the chapel and just prayed," said Emily's mother Sue of the aftermath. Described by her mother as a "miracle in progress", nine months after the accident, Emily was allowed to go home; a year later, she returned to school, though her rehabilitation continues. "We want Emily to live life as normally as possible," said Sue, of putting Emily back on the school bus.
Choosing to look for the light, for hope, and to heap praise on her daughter's care givers, rather to dwell on the tragedy, Sue, an ICU nurse, bears all the beautiful hallmarks of a Christ-like heart. In a blog following the show, Sue writes:
To those who find themselves in similiar circumstances, never forget there is always hope and things will improve. Have faith and believe in miracles. There is some reason Emily was chosen. As a family, to survive such an ordeal you need to learn to forgive, let go of any negative thoughts and focus on only the positives, however small they may be. Surround yourself with positive, loving family and friends, and don't be afraid to ask for help. As a family we are now so much stronger and united, and know what really matters in life.
There are so many reasons for Sue and her family to be angry: aside from the fact that their daughter suffered such severe damage, leading them into a daily struggle to help her gain back her life, there were no seat belts on the bus – Sue is now campaigning to make this compulsory.
Then there's Colin, the bus driver, who had positioned the bus in the path of an oncoming truck. Sue's empathy for Colin, Emily's favourite bus driver, has clearly had a profound effect on him. He welled up with tears as he explained how Sue had visited him at his home and extended forgiveness, all the while people in the town had frowned on him (his business and home, now up for sale, bear testimony to his ostracisation within the community).
"It wasn't my intention to drive in front of a truck going 100km an hour with a bus full of kids," said Colin. "I have to live with that."
It's often convenient to harbour bitterness, resentment and niggling annoyances – to project our disappointments onto others – rather than seek to forgive those who offend us or hurt us or cause us trouble. How would we react in a similar situation, with a loved one the victim of another's actions, whether unintentional or deliberate?
If we choose in our hearts to let forgiveness reign, then we are liberated to live our own lives more freely and lovingly. It takes guts to take that step; and a heart filled with compassion. Christ, in his last breath, found it within himself to plead on behalf of the souls who had brought him to his humiliating, painful but ultimately edifying death: "Forgive them, Father, for they do not know what they do". There's no greater sacrificial or healing love than to bestow it on those who the world might deem undeserving.
Girl With a Satchel
Posted by Erica Bartle (nee Holburn) at Monday, October 10, 2011