Benediction Online

Sunday, November 16, 2014


That reading was from an article, "The Best Part Of Life Is Realizing Why It’s Better That Things Didn’t Work Out" that Sabrina shared on Facebook the day before she died. It’s a bit uncanny isn’t it? Thanks to Johnny for pointing it out to me. We just heard a small part of it and I suggest that you read the whole thing at

I don’t know about you but my mind still can’t wrap itself around the idea that Sabrina is gone. I’ve been out to the crash site a couple of times but even so it’s not quite real yet. I keep expecting her to show up and say it was all a mistake. My mind keeps worrying about how it happened and why it happened and what it all means, like if you have a tooth extraction or a mouth canker your tongue keeps going back and checking it out again and again.

That’s the way we humans are. We want to make meaning out of everything. It’s the way we handle all the ups and downs of life. Many of us find that meaning in spirituality, when we experience the connection with the holy which sustains us.

So I want to share with you some things I don’t believe about all this:
·        I don’t believe that God needed Sabrina more than we do.
·        I don’t believe that God planned this.                   
·        I don’t believe that Sabrina’s death was a lesson for us, except perhaps to be careful when we’re driving at night. I drove home on Highway 1 last night and believe me, I’ve never driven so carefully.

I do believe that there is a crack in the universe which means that horrible things happen to perfectly wonderful people. I do believe that God’s love sustains us and brings new life even out of the most terrible tragedies. I believe in life.

Just as Sabrina did.

She was a woman who loved life. She loved to plan special things; she loved to cook; she loved softball and fishing; she loved to make people happy.

Though I have to admit, the earliest memory I have of Sabrina is one where she was not very happy. About 22 years ago, some of us from St. Benedict’s went camping up the coast at Plasket Creek. I pitched my tent next to Diana’s. Camping can be a little overwhelming for a two year old, especially at night, and Sabrina was not happy. As I remember it, when it was dark and time to go to bed she screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed.  But that was just at night. During the day she ran around and had as good a time as any kid could.

As a teenager, Sabrina was always interested and involved in many things. She thought about life deeply and always had great questions and great ideas. She was also game for anything fun. One year we decided to sleep over the night before Easter Sunday in the church. At that time it was still in construction, and at night it seemed cavernous and eerie. Sabrina loved it, except for one thing. We didn’t have a kitchen.  We didn’t have a refrigerator. In the morning when I got out the milk for cereal she was quite disgusted. Even though it had been in a cooler she couldn’t drink it; it made her gag.

I don’t know whether she had more discerning taste buds than me or whether it was her love of beauty and her desire for everything to be the very best it could be. Whichever it was, it stood her in good stead as she became a wonderful chef and a great hostess. I admit I was looking forward to Sabrina managing the Back Bay Coffee shop because there’s nothing like her cheerful face and bright welcome when you go for your morning cup of coffee. And I knew that she would pull her team together, making each one feel valued and at the same time make sure everything was done just right. Because that’s the way she was.

We don’t have much information about what happens after we die. It’s not something Jesus talked about in any detail. His focus, like Sabrina’s, was on abundant life, the life that comes from knowing and trusting in God’s unconditional love. But we do know that those who have sought God in this life will know God much more intimately in the next life. We do know that Jesus promised to prepare a place for us –promised to be ready for us. I like to imagine that Sabrina has connected with her grandfather and is making a whole load of new friends; I wouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t already persuaded her to make lemon slices.

Our task today is particularly difficult. It is to let Sabrina go to her new life, whatever that might be, while at the same time holding her memory lovingly in our hearts and living the life she wanted for us.  We have loved and cherished Sabrina; we have watched her grow up, learning from her mistakes; we have been there for her as the screaming two year old blossomed into a strong, powerful young woman. Our job is over. It is time now to give her into God’s care. Of course, she has always been in God’s care but most often that care was made real through us, her family, friends and community. Now she gets to go direct and we get to let go.
And how painful that is. Grief is a hard taskmaster. It saps our energy, it recedes like a wave and then, when you least expect it, it comes crashing back over your heard until you feel completely swamped and think you’ll never be able to breathe again. It snatches you up and flings you down on the shore, with all the breath knocked out of you. But you are on the shore, on the firm ground of God’s love. That is what we get to hold on to. Underneath us are the everlasting arms.

It is important that we grieve. It is important that we talk about Sabrina and what she meant to us and how she was killed so unexpectedly, so young. It is important that we have these conversations however painful, because it is in the crying and laughing that we are re-membering Sabrina. We are putting her back together in a new way in our hearts so that she becomes part of who we are - so that her life lives in us, not just as a memory but as an everyday reality. She will not live her dreams in the way she expected, but we still can.
If Sabrina were here today I think she would say, “’It is living that is beautiful and as human beings we know how to live life to the fullest…’ so do it, don’t wait. Don’t push away the experience of grief because it is part of life, but don’t wallow in it either.” The way we will honor Sabrina is to live our lives to the fullest; to take all that God has given us and make it into something beautiful. The way we honor Sabrina is to cherish our friendships and nurture our relationships; to forgive and move on in loving connection with each other. The way we honor Sabrina is to get up every morning grateful that we are alive and ask, how best can I show love today? How best can I create beauty today?

As Paul Hudson said in the article, “The moment you realize that not even loss itself can stop you, that sadness, despair, anger and fear cannot hold you back, is the moment you become perfect. Perfectly flawed, but perfect nonetheless.”

That is what Sabrina wants for us.


  • Thank you for making sense today. Thank you for such a fine send on for Sabrina. My boys went to school with the girls and Tyler is a friend of my oldest son.
    I don't believe God needed her either and thank you for saying so out loud.

    I grew up in the Catholic church, but what I heard today made sense.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 7:02 PM  

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