Tuesday, March 5, 2013

For the Hensons

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Haley, Me, Wendy, Amber and Anne in 2010, Provo Temple

When I was a seventh grader at Dixon Junior High School I met a girl named Haley. She was very pretty. One day she handed me a note in the hall. After I read it, I thought, she's pretty but she's also funny. After that, it was hard for me not to envy Haley, but it was hard not to love her too.

One day Haley invited me to her house after school. She wasn't bused about town to junior high like I was, she lived a walk away. So we walked to her house and I met her parents for the first time. They were young. So very young I had a hard time thinking that her parents were actually parents.

That was the start of a friendship that endured high school and passed through college into marriages and babies and careers. And no matter how much we changed and grew, it seemed every time I ran into Haley's parents they never, ever seemed to age.

And I always thought, Lucky, lucky Haley. Her parents have so much youth and energy and they will live forever and see her five tow-headed children grow and become as pretty and as clever as she was when I met her in junior high.

Then yesterday, Haley's mom and dad went for a walk in sunny St. George, Utah. According to reports, a car rear-ended another car and sent that car onto the sidewalk where Dave and Leslee were walking. Dave took most of the impact as they were hit from behind. He died almost immediately, while Leslee was air lifted to Provo to save her from neck, head and spinal injuries. It seems she's going to pull through.

I am heart-sick, devastated for my friend. And yesterday, there were texts and facebook messages from our friends and family, and a lot of spiritual affirmations that families are forever and we will see those who are taken away from us again. In heaven. No matter what sort of life we lived here. That's what we've chosen to believe, that's what we know. So we stand in testimony of that, even in the face of tragedy and loss. It's what returns us to peace.

This morning I am thinking about Dave, how his character changed so much in a lifetime. How he couldn't let you pass by without a genuine embrace. How not many men are as sweet and guileless as Haley's dad. How much those tow-headed children are going to miss terribly their sweet, loving grandpa.

And how, in the light of what we believe, he really will live forever.