In a couple of hours Darlene and I are going to be leading the funeral of a seventeen year old boy who took his life on Monday. These are my reflections…
The call came at 5:30 Monday evening. As I left my family and sped over to the house so many things were going through my mind. Probably foremost was the fact that his mom and I have talked about and prayed for Luke. We had multiple similarities.
When I arrived, it was as you would expect… people milling around trying to grasp what had just happened while simultaneously trying to give comfort to the family. Police officers, the coroner, pastors, and friends… everyone was full of questions. In times like this there are usually more questions than answers.
As people began to leave it occurred to me that there was still cleanup that needed to happen. After talking with the appropriate persons we realized that the earliest the “professionals” would be able to handle this was Wednesday. Darlene and I talked and concluded that we and a few people from our church could/should do this for the family so that they could be back in their home sooner rather than later.
Later that evening a handful of us showed up and begin the sobering work of cleaning up the room where the suicide took place. For five hours we worked side-by-side wrestling through a variety of emotions and thoughts. There was not much laughter or joking… just the sober determination to love this family through this act of service.
To say the least, this was one of the toughest thing any of us have done. Since that time we’ve been calling each other to pray for and talk through this experience.
During the process we all were focused on the job and consequently we were not so overwhelmed with the circumstances… that happened later that night when we laid down to sleep. And it happened the next day… and the next….
The one thing that has overwhelmed me the most is this thought, “The first time I touched him was when I cleaned him up.”
I’m broken over this.
A young man who desperately needed a strong, caring man in his life… lived alone and finally determined that no life was better than the one he was living.
I am overwhelmed to think that he is not the only young person, or older person for that matter, who lives like this.
I hate the things that ruin young lives:
- Parental abandonment
When I reflect on this crisis it occurs to me that the things that keep me busy aren’t all that important in this context. I could have done more… I should have done more…
Living next door, down the street, or maybe even in your/my home is someone who needs to be touched… loved… cared for. Will you do it? Will I do it?
Who will care for the lonely? Who will pass on the love of Jesus and the family of God?
I’m broken as a follower of Christ, a pastor, a man, and a father….
I’m broken that this young man passed like this and that I never took the chance to touch him with the love of Christ.
God, have mercy on his soul. Forgive me for being too busy. Have mercy on me and your church and let us live with the awareness that there are lonely, broken people living right beside us who desperately crave a loving touch.