I found this in my drafts and thought I'd publish it. It was written right after the boy committed suicide in January.
I've been pondering...a-thinking...musing...wondering on some things recently.
A young man in our area decided that his life was worthless...and ended it last Saturday. It's heartbreaking all around -- for his family, for his friends, and, most especially, for him. That a young person, only 16 years old, could feel that hopeless. According to his friends, he was a handsome guy, charismatic and full of fun. According to his obituary, his passion was pottery. I haven't read anything official in the newspaper about why he chose to end his life, but I'm sure the reasons will come out before too long.
How many people knew him well? Did he know that? Did he feel special and valued and really known? How many people knew his "passion was pottery"?
Sometimes it's easy, in our busyness, to miss really knowing people. We see them; we interact briefly with them; and we judge them. But do we really know them? Personally? Do we know their strengths and weaknesses? Do we know their likes and dislikes, what makes them giddy with pleasure or cry in anguish? Do we know their passions?
I hate to see a young person die. It goes against all human logic. People are born, grow up, and die in old age. I know that's not always God's way. But it is how, in our humanness, we think.
So this brings me back to my ponderings...
Why does it take a death for us to really know someone? Why after they die do they suddenly become so much more important?
I've seen my daughter come home from her youth group functions, sad and frustrated. She wishes people would know her better, like her better, actually listen to her better.
She said she starts to talk to people and they walk away mid-sentence. She has become quiet and withdrawn. No one knows her very well. She is an average Christian girl from a Christian home who does her schooling at home.
Does anyone there know her passions? What makes her tick? Does anyone there know that she danced for over 10 years? Does anyone know that she made it into the National Honor Society and loves to learn? Does anyone there know that she writes for "Voices" and has a keen desire to do public relations and missionary work when she grows up? Does anyone know that she loves fashion design and started her own fashion design company when she was only 9?
Does anyone care?
I know how she feels. I used to feel afraid that it would take dying for people to actually get to know me.
Why is that?
She has a "small group" leader at youth group. But she just complains that Emily doesn't come to everything. Does she know and understand that financially we can't afford to come to the church every time the doors open? Does she understand that we have other obligations, including work and two other children, that also take our time? Does she know that we value family time much more than organized activity time?
Does she care?
She doesn't even really know our names. And, every now and again, Emily is a blip on her radar.
It makes me sad.
It shouldn't take a tragedy to rally people around another person to celebrate who they were. We should all be doing that now.