The Lips Of God

      This has been a week like no other in Southwestern Virginia, the home of Virginia Tech.

      So many questions have filled my soul, and we have shed buckets of tears.  Although my daughters go to a different school, in another state, no place seems safe anymore.  Especially for us, because we have a connection to Virginia Tech.

      My daughter, Helen, spent three semesters at Virginia Tech.  She was accepted into their engineering program with the highest honors and she spent much of her days inside the building where the carnage took place.  That's where all her professors' offices were.

      She looked forward to being a student of Professor Librescu, the holocaust survivor who laid down his life for his students, so that they could escape.  There were other brilliant professors, as well, whom she looked forward to working with.  (It is significant that Professor Librescu was killed on Holocaust Remembrance Day.  It is a reminder, to me, that holocaust is not far from any of us, at any time.)

      By the time that Helen entered her third semester, it was obvious that she was unhappy.  She was under terrible stress.  She was making all A's, but very unhappily.  And I believe that we should not only do what we love, but we should also love what we do.

      It would have been easy for us to say, "Stick it out.  Go forward and don't let anything stop you.  Stay at Virginia Tech and conquer your fears."

      However, in my many visits with Helen, I began to feel an intense pressure of unease.  What was wrong with me?  Why couldn't I quench a burning desire to bring her home?

      I began to ask Helen what she really wanted out of school and her life.  I talked with my husband and her.  I prayed.  Over and over I felt as though God were saying, "Helen doesn't belong here. Bring her home."

      Before the next semester, Helen transferred to the same university her sister attended, just south of where we live.  There, her talents are celebrated and encouragement and "hands on" teaching are the order of the day.

      The change has been miraculous.  Helen has been so happy -- until the day of the carnage at Virginia Tech.

      If Helen had stayed at Virginia Tech -- if we had coerced her to stay in the big school with the big name -- there is no doubt that Helen would have been in the Engineering Building, that moment, that day.

      At the time that I was praying and feeling the pressure of God on my heart, I would have moved Heaven and Earth to make her leave Virginia Tech.  I was ready to lay down in the driveway, if necessary, to keep her from driving away.  I cannot answer why, except that God would not let me leave her there.

      I have wrestled with this for days.

      Along with my grief at the horror that was perpetrated in twenty minutes in the halls of a building where my daughter would have been, I do know this:  I thank God that He is so hard on me.  There is a terrible guilt that comes with that gratitude -- the gratitude that makes me say, "Thank you, Lord, that it was not my child."

      I'm not sure I know what the message is, except this:  When we say goodbye to those we love, when we hug them, we must make every second of that hug count.  Hug, love, and pray, as though we have the lips of God pressed to our ear.

      There may come a time that we will be certain that we do.

~ Jaye Lewis ~

Jaye Lewis is an award winning inspirational writer, who lives and writes in southwestern Virginia.  She is also a frequent contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul.  Jaye writes freelance, and she finds much of her inspiration from the beautiful mountains which surround her home. "The Lips of God" is a true story, written from the heart of Jaye's life.  Read more of Jaye's life on her website or email her at

[ By: Jaye Lewis Copyright © 2007 -- submitted by: Jaye Lewis ( ]


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