Today was a tough day. It stared with my Dad being admitted into the hospital for abdominal pain. Seeing a loved one in pain and knowing there is nothing you can do is hard. The boys were upset that Grandpa had to go to the hospital and leaving them home to take Grandpa to the hospital is always hard because they are sad and I can't be there to comfort them too. They carry a lot for 8 and 14 year old boys but God is using all this in there lives to shape and mold them into the men He would have them become. Mid-day I received a phone call that a 6th grader in my sisters church was found dead, an apparent suicide. My heart broke for the parents and little sister left today without a son and brother. My mind began to reflect upon the Christmas gifts that were under their tree, the Christmas photos that had been taken, the plans that were made for recitals, the song "Its the most wonderful time of the year" that they will never sing again and my heart broke. Earlier this week I was asking "why" about other issues that arouse in our lives and I had to remember the answer is not always there, we just have to have faith and leave it in God's unwavering hands. Later in the day more details began to emerge about this young man and it was apparent, life became overwhelming for him. He was in trouble at a school, got in a fight with a friend, he thought he lost an $800 instrument (which turned out some kids hid it), he ran away from home and at the tender age of 12 it became to much for him to deal with on his own. I'm sure the pain was to much to bear and the reasoning skills were just not developed. The more I heard the details of this young man's life I began to think, these were just minor things, why did he take such drastic measures? As I was reflecting on what this family must be going through, I began to think about our boys and how thankful I am for them, but I had to ask myself the question; would they feel any different had they been placed in this situation? This young man was raised in a Christian home, he attended a Christian school, he had Christian friends, he attend church, he memorized Bible verses, he went to Sunday School. Then I began to remember back when I was a child and how the smallest mistake would feel like a major ordeal. When we say "drama" about our kids, it is drama because coping skills that are not fully developed. I began thinking about our boys and this evening when I came home from the hospital I swat them down and had a talk with them. I told them the story of this young man and they were in shock at the outcome. God opened the door for me to tell the boys no matter what happens in life Dad and Mom will always love you and we will always be there to support you. We talked about how often when things happen in life they're not as big in reality as they are in your imagination and I referred to the fear of pulling out a splinter, its always worse in your mind then in reality. I reassured them that there is never anything they can't talk with us about. We talked about how we did not know this young man personally but his reaction has not only devastated his parents, family and friends lives but it has affected our lives too. We've told the kids no matter what, we will always love you but this evening it hit home with them. I told them no matter what we will always help you through a situation. No matter what, you can always come to us and we will listen and help you come up with a plan to resolve the problem. Often we think of talking to older kids like this but today this showed me its never to early to tell your children these words. We really work hard on communication but this evening I wanted to drill it into their hearts and minds that no matter what, they can come to us and tell us their problems, their joy, their ambitions, their fears and we will always listen. It was not a fun, fluffy, Christmas story but one that I hope will impact them for years to come. We're going to dedicate two ornaments (one for each of our boys) on our tree to this young man this year and ever year when we pull it out we will be reminded of this story and we will remind them each year how much we love them and how we will always be there no matter what, and when they are grown, and they get their ornaments for their own tree, they can share this story with their children and tell them, No Matter What, We Will Always Love You.
I Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
photo by Dale Stroud at Mission Field Images