The chances of God’s grace in times of need

Published 11:55 am Saturday, September 24, 2022

By Ronnie Michel

What are the odds I would take a walk around my neighborhood and see my brother’s American Legion baseball teammate decades after they played their last game?

What are the odds he would become my husband’s friend? That their visits while walking together in the morning would continue with phone calls and texts throughout the day?

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What are the odds his wife would become one of my closest and dearest friends?

Whatever the odds, we defied them. Mark and Heidi Chapman became friends of my husband Michael and me as soon as we joined the Garden District Track Club three years ago. It was an instant connection and only strengthened with time. Sharing our early mornings, walking around and around our neighborhood with several other people, provided many opportunities for growing friendships. I’ll never forget, and always cherish, the mornings we spent with Mark.

It’s one thing for a person’s personality to fill a room; it’s quite another when someone can fill the outdoors. Mark could and did. He accomplished this with his engaging stories, his everlasting quick wit, his creative nicknames for people, and his unmatched people skills. He made everyone feel special. Countless considered him a friend, evidenced by the continuous line of people at his wake – a line which extended far into the church’s parking lot.

His death leaves an enormous void for his family and friends. Buried with Mark are questions which won’t be answered on this side, words we long to have spoken, and hopes that – as Heidi said – he found peace in his eternal field of dreams. And now, as we face tomorrow without him, what are the chances that God’s grace can support each one of us even when our hearts feel broken? 100%.