Dean's dying daughter left deeply inspirational mark

I saw in Carrie such incredible courage and faith

Last updated 11:08 30/03/2013
tdn carrie stand
CAMERON BURNELL
Dean of the Taranaki Cathedral Jamie Allen with his daughter Carrie

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Taranaki Cathedral Dean Jamie Allen didn't get mad at God when his 12-year-old daughter Carrie died. He couldn't. Carrie hadn't got mad, so how could he?

"I got mad at the situation and ached at it and continue to ache at it. I saw in Carrie such incredible courage and faith that, that in itself was a deep inspiration. She was at peace in her relationship with God, she was uncluttered in it. She understood and knew God in such a very real and challenging way that it would not have been true in her courage and faith for me to be angry with God. She overcame that herself for me."

Christianity is fundamentally relevant to people, he says. "We all encounter loss on our journey and the Christian story is about discovering hope, which has been a profound reflection of mine in these last six months and 10 days since I lost my daughter Carrie to cancer. A girl who was prayed for by hundreds that she may get well . . . and she died. And the experience of that terrible loss and farewelling the apple of my eye, who I loved so very dearly, not having her any more and that very painful journey she had towards the end of her life . . . she journeyed that journey with incredible courage. So where does that leave me in my faith? I can't easily summarise. I could write you a small book."

It was not God's will that Carrie got cancer and died, he says. It was an aspect of the frailty of the human condition. Her suffering brought pain to God just as it was painful to him and his family and everybody who loved her.

There were parts of the journey that were really "deeply, deeply painful" and times when it was very hard not to be hurting, he says.

"But my faith is around a God whose involvement with his people is so intimate that he would embrace suffering and death with them and alongside them. Our own loss just takes us back to look at the cross to know that the depth of God's understanding and love is about not taking away suffering but being alongside suffering to very point of death."

When Carrie got sick her father piggybacked her for a year.

"Her faith was a deep inspiration and continues to be so. I realised that all that time I had been carrying her she had been actually carrying me."

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