They’re Angels Now
The Minnesota women, all about 18 years old, were roommates. After coming home to Minnesota, to visit friends and family for President's Day weekend, they died in a card crash, as they headed back to North Dakota State University during a winter storm.
My son Isaac, also 18, and a senior at Minnetonka High School, was friends with Danielle Rae Renniger.
I’d briefly met Danielle at a prom event but didn’t know her. But as a father of two boys, one who recently enlisted in the Marines, I sure feel sadness in my heart to these four girl’s parents, and their long chain of friends and family.
Elton John wrote a song called Candle in the Wind. The lyrics include the words, “Your candle burned out long before your legend ever did.” Thanks to Facebook, our legends can live on.
I looked at Danielle’s Facebook page and am impressed with the wisdom she acquired during her short time here on earth.
Danielle had 1,478 friends and had posted 1,799 pictures. Born on May 4, 1993, Danielle wrote on her Facebook Profile,
"Everything happens for a reason. Every action has a reaction. Always remember that what’s meant to be will always find a way to come about."
Danielle's three favorite quotes were: One: Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. Two: God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, & wisdom to know the difference. Three: Just wish that everyone were humble. If everyone in this world stopped belittling other people, this world would be a much happier place. Be kind to other people besides your friends. Care about other people’s situations besides yours; don't be selfish. Don't ignore people or give them attitudes; it's rude. Don't assume you know someone when you really don't; you are missing out on a lot of great people out there."
My son asked me last night if I thought he should attend the funeral. I encouraged him to go and said it’s good to pay your respects and you’ll feel better for going and supporting Danielle’s family. My wife Annie helped Isaac pick a nice shirt and vest to wear – Isaac looked nice as he headed out the door this morning.
Every time the door closes, and either of my children walk out the door, I really don’t know if I’ll ever see them again. I’ve had friends walk through the door, and into the hospital, who didn’t walk out. I’ll take off on my motorcycle and who knows who I might encounter as I’m riding down the road at 70 mph – a deer running across the road, a person busy texting a friend, a mechanical failure?
My point is, everything in life is temporary. We’re born alone and we die alone. During my short journey (and my timeline is getting shorter by the year), it’s important that I do my best to live each day to its fullest. I’m learning not to be a slave to work. I’m learning that less is more, and the importance of connecting with nature that helps me re-discover my spiritual balance, instead of material things.
May God watch over our children and bless the lives of Danielle, Megan, Jordan, and Lauren.
P.s. whenever I try to figure out how tragedies like this can happen, I think back to what my Rabbi told me. He says, as humans, our vision is limited, that only the Almighty sees the complete picture. I know it would be easy to abandon my faith when things like this happen. That is why I believe in a power that is greater than myself – a caring and loving God!