Thursday, July 16, 2009

inspiration never dies

Last Wednesday evening started out like any other. Keith and I had just finished eating dinner and we were trying to figure out if we wanted to play cards or watch television. As it turns out the TV won and the channel surfing began. With the hopes of finding something good I began flipping through channels and I stopped when I saw a beautiful young girl singing in a Cinderella play. Her parents were being interview and were talking about how proud they were of her. I thought I was watching a VH1 Driven kind of show, but I was in fact watching a Primetime Special about the murder of Melanie Goodwin. It took me awhile to understand that Melanie had been murdered. I kept waiting for her to be interviewed about her music career, but that never happened. Once I realized this wasn’t Driven I immediately wanted to change the channel. I did not want to know how the singing Fairy Godmother had been murdered. Keith, however, wanted to know what happened, so we kept watching.

Melanie was on her way to her boyfriend’s house one night after work when she stopped at a gas station to pick up a few snacks. While there, she was approached by a man who needed a ride. She told him that she could not do that, and proceeded to purchase the snacks. Upon leaving the gas station, Melanie was raped and beaten. Her body was then burned so badly that the authorities could not identify it. Numerous surveillance cameras recorded Melanie and her killer at the convenience store. Thankfully the footage, along with DNA found on her body, was enough to send her killer to prison for life. Melanie was 19 years old.
As I watched Melanie’s story unfold I kept asking God questions.
How could this happen? Why did it happen? Why didn’t anyone save her? Why did she have to die?? WHY????
I didn’t understand.
When the program ended I began to cry. I was deeply affected by the murder of Melanie Goodwin. My soft tears turned into gut wrenching sobs after a few seconds. As Keith held me I began asking him the same questions I was asking God. Why…??? Although he didn’t have the words to say, he answered my question the best way he knew how. He went over to my computer and played the song “I Still Believe” by Jeremy Camp. He told me that Jeremy wrote this song after losing his wife to cancer. Some of the lyrics are:
Scattered words and empty thoughts
Seem to pour from my heart
I've never felt so torn before
Seems I don't know where to start

But it's now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

'Cause I still believe in Your faithfulness
'Cause I still believe in Your truth
'Cause I still believe in Your Holy Word
Even when I don't see, I still believe

I did not know Melanie, but she seemed like an amazing person. You can tell just by looking at photographs of her that she was more than just a pretty face. She was a singer, actress, daughter, sister, friend, student, volunteer, girlfriend, child of God…She was driven. She inspired. The more and more I thought about her death the angrier I became. Melanie didn’t have to die. What if she would have known how to defend herself? What if she would have had a weapon in her car? What if her killer would have been at a different gas station?? There are many what if’s that I can come up with, but the only thing that eases my mind is this:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
courage to change the things I can
and wisdom to know the difference

This is not the first time a stranger’s death has affected me. I cried for weeks after the Virginia Tech shooting. I cried when Eve Carson was brutally murdered and stayed glued to the news hoping for new developments. My heart broke when I heard about Anne Pressly being viciously attacked in her home, later dying at the hospital. I know that everything happens for a reason and that God has impeccable timing, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder why these things happen. Inconceivable tragedies like these often have an impact on me, and I’ve always felt that there was a reason for this. I think I became aware of this reason last week after watching Melanie’s story.

God is doing amazing things in my heart and is stirring up an idea so big, so wonderful that I could burst. I can’t do anything to bring Melanie, Anne, or Eve back, but maybe I can help prevent this from happening to someone else. The Lord is moving in me with this idea and I am as excited as ever to tackle it head on. Last Sunday Pastor Fred told us that “God plants a dream in our heart with a thought in our head” and boy was he ever right.

Rest in Peace Melanie

[Photo Credit: Theatre Arlington]

**I severely summed up what happened to Melanie on that terrible night. If you want to know more you can read about it here.**

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...