They don’t know this, but it’s because of me my sister and her husband met. I can hear them now, “Hmmm, no you aren’t. You were away at school when we met.” I know, right? Even I had no idea how awesome I was until just this week.

Despite my awesomeness, I find myself feeling a bit sad and reflective lately. We’ve had to deal with death again a couple of times this year, with the last funeral being my mother-in-law’s. And one only has to look at the news for a few minutes to wonder even in just our little corner how the world has gone completely mad.

To be honest, I can be a pretty deep thinker without all that, but death and dying and bad news sets my brain and heart into a whirlwind of activity trying to figure out how to put things in the right place in my mind.

The weird thing is, I didn’t crack into a real cry until I was watching a memorial service scene for a character on a soap I’ve been watching since the beginning of time. I guess because it was a fake scene, but kind of real because the actress actually died, my guard for the pain death brings was down. I wasn’t even really paying that much attention as I was cleaning and picking up the house while the show was on, but somehow it got to me and TV stuff doesn’t usually get to me—every once in a while, but not often.

As I walked around the house, I asked God all kinds of questions. I was not being bratty this time. I really wanted to know. Why does it have to hurt so much down here on Earth? There are good things, but the hurtful stuff seems to hurt more and last longer than the good stuff feels good, why? Where are You in the painful times? How do You show Yourself when we hurt? Where can we see Your love? How do we see Your hand at work in our lives?

I sighed, stopped crying and left to pick up my kids from the bus stop.

Then this past week, I answered a couple of questions friends from high school posted on Facebook. You know I bet none of my friends from high school know that we should have moved in the middle of my junior year. Interesting thought. I shouldn’t even know these guys on here. Definitely wouldn’t have gone out with that one guy because we would have been leaving around the time he asked me out. The thoughts kept coming. I wonder where the Army would have sent us? Might not have gone to the college I did. Probably wouldn’t have moved back to high school town. It’s likely that most of the people I count as friends, I would not even know if we had moved back then.

During my junior year, my health was deteriorating rapidly and thankfully my dad was reassigned to the same place he was working, which happened to be a major hospital. I think that was a one year assignment, which got me to mid-senior year. The Army wouldn’t have cared about that little fact, but because of my health, Dad was given an extension again, so I was able to stay at the same high school all four years and graduate with my friends. Yay! Huge blessing for this not-particularly-outgoing gal.

I’m sure I would have made friends wherever we might have moved to, but knowing me, it would have taken time and they would not have been close friends. Not like the crew I hung out with at my school. Friends spread all over the states that I hardly ever see or talk with, but when we get a chance to see each other or talk, it’s like no time has passed.

I went to college, finished my freshman year, came home and in a few weeks finally got the call for a kidney. Not more than a month after I got home from the hospital after my transplant, my dad got orders to move.

But if I hadn’t been sick enough to have to be near a major hospital there’s a very good possibility that we would have moved long before my parents and sister eventually did. My health was bad enough my senior year of high school and freshman year of college that the Army kept my dad in place.

When I went away to college, my sister started high school which is where she met and started dating the guy who is now her husband. See, it is because of me that they met.

But if I hadn’t been sick…

I have never seen my life through that lens.

It’s not often that we get insight into the painful, difficult parts of our lives, but I believe this was an answer to my barrage of questions that day—a small piece of the puzzle that has shaped my life and a picture of how my life has affected others. I would love more answers to other parts of life, but for now I’m left with knowing that if I had never been sick, it seems likely we would not have known the blessing my brother-in-law has turned out to be and the family he and my sister have created together. I am so grateful for this family that loves me and for the good friends I was able to stay close to. But if I hadn’t been sick…

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

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