Two years. I’ve never heard the saying, “it feels like yesterday”, ring so true… until now.
I remember everything so clear. I remember laughing with her and watching “Friends” with her while we worked out. We had a system that would help us workout longer; “Friends” distracted us from the pain. I remember her waking me up in the middle of the night because she couldn’t sleep and just wanted to drive and listen to music. I remember the way she treated people: always so loving. She would befriend any person because she just loved to make others smile.
That was Livy. She believed in the Lord with every inch of her heart. She inspired me to be more serious about my own devotions, so we started studying the Bible together. My first year at JBU was by far my favorite year: all of my friends got along, I was growing deeper in the Lord and Liv and I were constantly together, just enjoying life. Our deepest fear was our grade in Professor Castleman’s class. Everything else was perfect. Then February 16th happened.
I remember praying to God, begging Him to wipe away those heart-wrenching memories. But the answer would always be silence. She and the pain will forever be engraved in my mind. It took me a long time to realize why. When Livy first died, I was angry. The angriest I have ever been in my life. I even scared myself with my own anger. What made me fester more with anger was that, yes, I was angry at the Lord, and yes, I was angry at myself for not trusting my gut that something was wrong that day, but I was also angry at her, Livy.
It shames me to admit but I am still angry with her. Not as much, but anger is still in my heart. Now that some of the anger has melted away, I am able to see more clearly what the Lord is saying to me. I know why he doesn’t want me to forget that day and why I am reminded of her whenever I see two best friends.
Throughout all the tears, the yelling and the questioning, God remained constant. He swept over me in what felt like a river of peace, never ending. He placed people in my life to comfort me. He stirred JBU’s heart and then they reached out to those who were hurting from this tragic loss. I never saw a campus come together like JBU did. The RA Staff in Hutch, including Shelby Delay and Meredith Baltz, were so amazing through it all. The men from J. Alvin even brought Hutch soup and drinks regularly. It was truly amazing.
God gave me friends I didn’t know existed. He showed me love at a time when I actually said, “I hate you.” It drove me crazy when the angrier I got at the Lord and Livy the more He showed me His sweet love. He was adamant in not letting go of me. I could swear I actually heard Him say, “Shhhh dear one, I got you. I am never letting go of you. Come to me with your tears and sorrow, and I will give you rest.”
Finally, I listened. I gave it all to the Lord. I gave him my fears, my tears, my questions, my anxiety, my grief and my longing, and in that instant, I realized He will never help me forget about those painful memories. To forget the pain would mean to forget the glimpses of hope. You see, if He did that, I would forget about JBU loving those who were hurting. I would forget about the love I felt from complete strangers comforting me. I would forget about the professors giving me grace on missed assignments. I would forget about my roomie, Lauren Drogo, being there for me through it all. I would forget that through every fallen tear, the Lord remained, stronger and louder than the day before.
I can’t deny I will always miss Livy, but I also can’t deny the fact that I grew in the Lord more than I ever thought I could in two years. I am so overwhelmingly thankful for every memory I have, because every single one points to our Lord and Savior.
David is a senior majoring in photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.