Thursday, July 08, 2004

Ouch

I've been on vacation... I apologize to my readers (both of you) for the lack of writing. :)

Here's something that really made me pause recently. I returned home from vacation and read a story about a local youth who was killed in an accident-- he'd fallen off of a roof. The article gave some details, and included a statement about alcohol being involved. I read it with one eye open, as I tried to start my day. My first response (and this is painful to admit) was "yeah, no kidding... people do stupid things when drunk." That was the sum of my response. I spent perhaps 15 seconds reading the story, and then moved on.

I found out later in the day that this was the son of a colleague (the colleague's name is Jack)-- I hadn't recognized his son's name. I didn't know his son, but my colleague and his wife are unbelievably kind people, quality human beings, the sort of people you'd just want to be around. I went to the visitation today, and there was Jack. I hugged him, asked him how he was holding up. He said "o.k., sort of like a roller coaster, I have good moments and bad moments." Then he reached out to me, looked me in the eye and said "Go home and hug your children." And he started weeping, and virtually crumbling in my arms.

Needless to say, I was as moved by this as I could possibly be. I cried, as I thought about what it must be like to have to bury one's own child. Contrast that with my initial callous, righteous response when I initially read about his son's death in the paper. I'm ashamed to even think about that initial response. How can I do that? How have I become so callous about the lives of others? What if I'd NOT known his father? I don't know whether God places these things in front of us as some sort of lesson or not, but I took it that way. Lesson learned.