Back during my freshman year of high school my family decided to leave our home church and find another one. We ended up at a great church that became my home for many years. Sometime during that year the youth/children’s pastor approached me and asked me if I wanted to help him start up a mid-week children’s program. Those were the glory days. I lived for Adventure Club and hanging out with all these amazing (and sometimes annoying) kids. I was doing what I was created to do. I loved it! (I still do) That first group of kids – maybe 20 on a good night – holds a special place in my heart. Many of them are still friends – even best friends of mine. I haven’t kept in touch with all of them but generally hear through the grapevine how they’re doing.
Today I found out that one of them died in a tragic airplane accident. He left behind a wife and unborn child.
I use words to try to express my shock, my grief, my unbelief but none of them come close to describing how hard it is to believe he’s gone. He was one of them that I didn’t stay in close contact with but, in general, I knew what he was up to. His dad was my dentist in Arizona. One of his sisters was my age. My heart aches for his parents. They’re going to bed tonight – if they can even sleep – without their son safely in this world. I’ve heard it said that having children is like having your heart walking around outside of your body – unprotected. And their heart is broken.
I think of the wife and unborn baby. I don’t know her. I can’t imagine the pain. I pray for comfort and peace that surpasses all understanding. But I know that first she will experience the pain and grief and anger and denial.
This tragedy makes me evaluate the relationships that I have… do they know where they will spend eternity? Would I see them again if they (or I) left this earth? It’s a reminder that we aren’t promised tomorrow – or the next hour. We need to make the most of each moment – we need to tell those that we love that we love them – love them enough to make sure that they know where they’re headed.
Please pray for this family. Hug your loved ones extra tight.