When Our World is Full of Sunshine, Someone Else is Experiencing Life's Darkest Storm

Sunday, July 15, 2018
 Even in your brightest moments, it's good to remember there is someone experiencing their darkest storm.........

This was one of the tranquil scenes John and I were experiencing last Sunday afternoon as we drove the back roads of Fulton and Montgomery Counties.  These roads are often the direction we head when we're in need of some recharging, some quiet, some peace.  It's on these roads we are able to get back to basics and soak in the simple gifts God has provided.....the beauty of the landscape, the deep blue skies dotted with airy, drifting clouds, an expansive view of the amazing world we live in.  It's a place where we can observe the most faithful and simplest living people, the Amish, on their farms.  On Sunday it's not easy to spot them compared to other days of the week when you can see them plowing the fields, milling lumber, tending their crops.   Sunday is their day for worship not work.  Only the little children at play are in sight on Sundays.  You don't see miles of laundry hanging on clotheslines on this, the Sabbath day.  It's a strong reminder of how it used to be decades ago when Sundays were family days, when stores and gas stations were closed and we surrounded ourselves with family, friends and fellowship.  We slowed down and took a pause to savor the important stuff.

It was probably one of the prettiest days we've seen in recent weeks with the clear blue sky, low humidity and bright sunshine.  Scenes like the one above - so beautiful it almost made me breathless with joy and gratitude.  Riding along it felt the world was perfect and peaceful.............yet no matter how beautiful our view, not everyone was enjoying the same kind of day.  Not everyone was feeling the same peace, the same serenity, the same 'all's right in the world' kind of day we were enjoying.  My peaceful afternoon came to a screeching halt when my cell phone rang just as I passed this tranquil view.
Last week some very close friends of our family closed on the sale of their house on Saratoga Lake and began their journey to Alabama where they were beginning a new chapter in their life.  Al & Veronica were moving to Alabama to be near their daughter, Charlene, and four granddaughters.  They had purchased property and planned to build a home right in the same development of Wetumpka.  On July 5th they began the long drive to Alabama.  They arrived on July 7th, a day that should have been the start of a wonderful new adventure, but before the day was done life would take a drastic turn and what should have been a day of celebration turned to the darkest of tragedies. That evening Charlene's husband shot and killed Charlene, shot their three triplets, poured accelerant throughout the house, started it on fire then shot and killed himself.  Thankfully their oldest daughter escaped.  One of the triplets, Cadence, died from her injuries, the surviving two, Patricia and Katherine, who were shot multiple times, underwent surgery and are recovering.  Hearing my mom relay this story as we parked along the side the road felt like something out of a dream, a terrible, horrible dream.  Stories like these don't happen to people we know, they happen to strangers on the news or in t.v. dramas.  They don't happen to wonderful friends, happy families, beautiful children, wonderful moms.  But according to the news my mom was relaying, that's exactly what happened, a beautiful mother, wife, teacher, Air Force veteran lost her life to the hands of her husband - a 20 yr. Air Force veteran.  According to the published press, illegal drugs may have played a part, but what is wrong with our world today that people can become so distraught, so insane that they'd take the lives of their own flesh and blood.  How does a father shoot his 12 yr old triplets multiple times?  How does this happen?  As I edited the photos from this day I noticed something that sort of illustrates this.   In this first photo, everything looks perfect and in tact.......no problem here.
When we look closer, we realize nothing is in tact...

In fact, it is obvious that things are about to implode and soon collapse, not unlike so many folks walking around today.  Are we missing the signs?  Are we ignoring the symptoms?  How can we fix this broken world where people can look fine on the outside but be so broken on the inside?  Something has to be done.
But, in the depths of despair, in the darkest of times, that's when people come together. Friends and strangers come forward to support, to love, to pray, to mourn.  The local community where Charlene lived has come together to mend the brokenness and help put the pieces back together.  A furniture store is donating a bedroom set for each of the girls, a gas station donated a year's worth of gas, a rent-free home has been donated for the time it will take to build a new home, and a Go-Fund Me has already collected $46,000.  Many other fundraising efforts are also underway in their local community.  None of this will bring Charlene and Cadence back, but I know that the love and support is helping Al & Veronica face the challenges that now lie before them.  Nothing can help their broken hearts, only time and God's grace.  I struggled all week about whether or not I should tell this story.  I didn't want to prolong the pain of the event, but in the end I felt it was important to share because it demonstrates that tragedy doesn't just strike 'other people', it also strikes people we know and love, people who don't deserve it, people who have spent their lives doing things for other people.  Bad things do happen to good people and in this case, terrible things happened to some of the best people I know.  If you feel moved to help this family out, I'll leave links at the end of this blog.  I'd ask that you keep all of them in your prayers tonight - Al, Veronica, big sister Adrianna and recovering triplets Patricia and Katherine as well as the rest of the family who are helping during this difficult time.  Life can be cruel and unfair.  It can test our will, challenge our endurance and test our faith.  I don't know why things like this happen and I so wish they didn't, but my faith assures me that God has a plan and I know He'll be present as this plan unfolds.  A God who created a world as beautiful as ours, a God who created people as good as Al and Veronica, does not desert us in our hour of need.  Please keep them in your prayers and look for links to donate at the end of the rest the images from of our ride.

To Donate to the Orsi Family:
Redland Elementary School's Parent-Teacher Organization is accepting monetary donations for the family. Checks need to be written to “The Orsi Fund” and mailed to the 
Redland Elementary School at 495 Scholars Drive Wetumpka, AL 36093
A card drive is also underway to offer encouragement and support to the sisters. If you would like to participate, cards can be mailed to the:
The Gab Salon and Spa, 
102 SW Main St #A,
 Wetumpka, AL 36092

1 comment

  1. Iam so sorry for this family's loss. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in this family. Having had my own tragedy I can't thank you enough for putting into words all my thoughts from 25 years ago this month.
    Please never hold back on on your words. They could be healing for others.


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