Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.  
     
-Eric Liddell, Olympian
             
     
I wept not too long ago and the tears flowed in what seemed like a river.  One afternoon a few weeks ago while munching on some chips and salsa I caught a piece on ESPN about the gripping story concerning Australian golfer Stuart Appleby who tragically lost his wife and former caddie Renay back in 1998.  Appleby recalled how devastated he was and how the loss sent him to depths he never dreamed of—they were on a get-away together unloading their car on July 23 just outside a train station in London when another car backed up into her doing somewhere between 10-20 mph, crushing her to death between the two cars.  She was 25 years young—Appleby just 27.  I remember hearing the news and the feelings I had ten years ago—to watch the story again just stirred up the same emotions and maybe even more-so being that I too have lost a wife—only mine, to divorce.  I think I know why we cry and grieve—I suppose it is just a reminder that we are made in the image of God—who weeps over us by the way.
 
Appleby told his story and shared how—once Renay was gone—his desire to play golf was gone with her.  In the days that followed her death he made a promise to himself that he wouldn’t play golf again—only to break the promise less than a month later, showing up to play at the ’98 PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club just outside Seattle, Washington—knowing his departed wife wouldn’t want him to do anything but be there to compete.  
           
In his first interview following the tragedy—‘The tough times…’ Appleby started, before tears welled in his eyes and his voice began to crack.  ‘The tough times are when you do a lot of thinking,’ he said, fighting to continue. ‘You just wish things were different. I’ve just got to bust through this little bubble in front of me.’  Renay Appleby’s death sent shock waves across PGA tours around the globe. She was a favorite among players and their wives, having caddied for her husband when he was trying to make it on the Nike Tour.  When he won for the first time on the PGA Tour two years ago, she nearly pulled his thumb off as they nervously held hands behind the 18th green in the Honda Classic as the last group came through.  ‘I feel very lucky that I knew her,’ Appleby said. ‘The time we spent together was good quality. She was the first prize in a raffle, and I was lucky enough to win. She changed a lot of people’s lives.’  (source: sportsillustraded.cnn.com—August 11, 1998)    
      
This weekend will mark ten years since Appleby’s return as he competes at Oakland Hills here in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan—at the very event he returned to—to begin with. 
               
I know who I will be pulling for.
 
Though he slay me, I will hope in him…    (Job 13:15a, ESV)
 
Stuart Appleby may never have all of his questions answered as to why he lost his young bride, but he has remarried (2002) and has a visible peace in his eyes and a calm within his voice.  He has even introduced his new wife to Renay’s family—he and Ashley have two daughters and are expecting their first son in October. 
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