One such person is Jeff McIllwain, who was a teen who lived in the neighborhood behind our's and he was also in our youth group at New Life Community Church on the day when the Cerritos Aero Mexiso disaster happened 29 years ago this month.
Jeff and I were brought together at this dreadful time on the street corner facing his burning neighborhood where his mom was home alone. Jeff was panic-stricken to say the least, and I know that God brought Jeff and I together that day and even now we remember and I am pleased to share what Jeff recently posted on Facebook in response to that dreadful day. May God continue to bless this man of faith who is a living testimony to the truth contained in Romans 8:28!
In Christ and for His Glory! -Angie
"Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground." Sigh. So true even 29 years later.
Yet, today I choose to celebrate my "alive day" and give thanks to the Lord for waking me up that morning and getting my behind to church, for saving my dad, sister, and many of my neighbors. I am thankful for the people I have met in my life due to the trajectory this catastrophe created, people I never would have met otherwise. I am thankful it helped me set an educational and career path that honors the memory of those who perished. My claiming of Romans 8:28 in prayer with Angie Ford-Green that morning has been fulfilled and then some.
To be clear, I hate that this happened, what it did to so many good people that day and the many years after. It still rends and rips outward from the vacuum it created in so many lives. Full, public disclosure: It honestly gets tougher for me the further out I get from that day now that I have my own kids and fully realize how much not having mom here to be with them, to love and care for them, wears on my heart. How I wish to read her comments on the pics and videos I post of the kids here on Facebook, to pick up the phone and ask her if Deb and I did similar things as children and how she dealt with us. And, oh, to hear that laugh again.
Yet my grief and anger have been assuaged by the knowledge that true good has come from this. My life would not be what it is today if not but for this loss and I have a life rich in family and friends. To quote Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankle, “Everything can be taken from a man or woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."
Thanks, God, for revealing yourself in ways I could've never otherwise appreciated, ways that encouraged me to choose an attitude of hope, faith, optimism, resilience, and service in the face of adversity. Thank you for giving me the gift of empathy for the suffering of others and the wisdom and discernment to love and serve them in the ways you want me to love and serve them. And thank you for supporting me on those days I want to run in the opposite direction.
So do me a favor everyone. Please tell your family and friends you love them today in memory of my mom and the love, joy, friendship, and laughter that she brought to so many lives in her short 38 years on this Earth. Forgive and forget hurts and slights, real and imagined, and heal the wounds of broken relationships. And please say a prayer of remembrance for the souls of the faithful departed who lost their lives that day and a prayer of thanks for all of those who lived and still persevere.
With Faith, Hope and Love,
Angie "a mom like you"