Yesterday, I went to visit Sam Thomsen's mother and sisters. Stories continue to pour in that something about his death has brought meaning and inspiration to others.
Larry and Sharon got to meet President Bush last week and speak to several scout families who lost their sons, or whose sons were at the camp and survived the vicious tornado. In their typical, soft-spoken yet bursting-with-faith way, they had been praying for opportunities to share their faith or comfort someone during this trip.
Sharon shared a great story with me. She told me that at one point, a woman approached her.
"Are you Larry and Sharon Thomsen?"
"I just wanted you to know something. Our son was at the camp, and really wanted to attend the Celebration of Life that your church held before the funeral. Afterwards, as we were walking to the car, he turned to me and said, 'Mom, I felt the Holy Spirit in that place...'"
"Oh," said Sharon, "well thank you for sharing that."
"No, no, you don't understand," smiled the other woman, "we're Lutheran. We don't normally talk about the Holy Spirit in that way! My son has really been thinking about spiritual things lately, and he was very impressed with that service."
Is that an inspirational story, or what? It's amazing that tragic death ignites God-questions in each of us. It washes away denominational differences, and makes us focus on relationships instead of rightness. Sometimes it squelches faith, but more often than not, faith is intensified. When we have no answers left and nowhere else to turn, we finally realize or remember that we are left with God as THE answer.