“Whitney, you got to watch a video of your own funeral.”
A high speed collision took the lives of five people from Taylor University. Five weeks after the crash, when the Van Ryn’s daughter came out of a coma, they eventually realized that she was not their daughter. This is a compelling story, sad and happy, a picture of two families trusting God through the most agonizing drama imaginable.
That drama was told last night on a two hour Dateline NBC program.
A fine moment: Lisa Van Ryn put the pieces together first. After a physical therapy session, as she was wheeling the girl she now suspected was not her sister Laura back to her room, she got eye level and asked her what her name was. The girl replied, “Whitney.” She asked her to say her parents’ names. After she did, Lisa was convinced this wasn’t Laura. Her response was, “That’s very good, Whitney. You are doing so well. You are really doing great.”
Matt Lauer commented on Lisa’s generosity to Whitney at that moment. He was surprised that Lisa didn’t start screaming and running down the hall. Lisa looked at him with a smile, “But I loved her! Why would I do that to her?” The love she demonstrated, putting Whitney’s needs before her own…amazing grace.
In the last few years, some stories have gripped our imagination because the participants’ faith has been so clearly displayed in the midst of their grief. Do you remember the national spotlight on Frank James when the Mt. Hood climbers were missing? In this program, what I found so winsome was a complete lack of bitterness and blaming. The Cerak and Van Ryn families were gracious in every word spoken. All of grace.