I’m a hockey chaplain as well as a pastor and so April 6 is a day that is particularly meaningful.
On this day, three years ago, a tragedy hit the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, hit the hockey world, hit Canada and in all likelihood, it hit you. When horrible things like this happen, a part of us wants to move on quickly and try and get back to normal, but somehow, we know that we can’t forget. In fact, we build monuments so that we don’t forget. For now, at the site of the Humboldt crash there is only a makeshift memorial of hockey sticks and crosses, but until a more enduring memorial is built, it serves a vital purpose.
So why do we remember? Why do we take a moment of silence at games and events?
We discipline ourselves to remember because it honours those who died. God formed us and knit us together and then breathed his life into us. We are much more than the sum of our physical parts - we are wonderfully and fearfully made and we are precious - every one of us. We remember because it helps those families who are hurting the most, so many friends and families are now living without their son or brother or husband or friend, and we push ourselves to pause a few minutes because as much as we want to think we are invulnerable, this tragedy reminds us we are not. It calls us to be vigilant, to keep what’s important on the top instead of just what’s urgent and to value relationships more deeply.
My relationship with God helps to create a North Star in my life, a point of focus so that tragedy and death can be remembered without me getting lost.Faith in God may be seen as a crutch to some people, but when you feel very crippled and overwhelmed it’s appreciated. So take time to remember. Not just the Humboldt experience, but perhaps other losses you have experienced. Honour that which is gone. Encourage those who share the grief with you. May God help you as you do.