Tonight (well last night seeings as it is 6 am and I have been up for a couple of hours because I could not sleep so it still feels like last night) I attended a memorial service for a young man I did not know, but a young boy that I did and remember. I am connected closely to his extended family, they are the type of friends that I hope and pray that my girls will have one day. The type of friends that you just pick up the pieces from where you left of on the last visit and move forward forging new memories, the type of friends who know your heart, the type you miss when it has been too long, and when you are together time flies like there is no tomorrow. The type of friend that is closer than most family - these would be the family you CHOOSE for yourself kind of friends.
Tonight my friends were hurting, deep agonizing hurts that all you can do is step beside and give a hug and be there. The type of hurt where words seem shallow and your presence is enough. Though truly a sad occasion, I was blessed to be able to step up beside my friends and just be there, knowing that just by doing that they knew they were loved. To be able to share in grief at this level is hard, there are so many questions, and so few answers but it is the right thing to do. At the core of who we are as humans we need to connect with others, connections that run deeper than the surface, connections that bond hearts so that in the tough times you do not feel alone. I am emotionally spent, but would not trade it for anything. Just knowing that just by being there I was able to encourage my friends was worth the red eyes and soggy tissues. I would do it again in a heart beat, but hope that I do not have to for a very long time.
Sitting at the service my heart broke for the sadness in Tom's dad's eyes, pain that runs deep, questions that are there but not asked, simply put heartbreak at the rawest form. 22 is much to young to die. Heartbreak for the tragic way poor choices can end a life in the blink of an eye. How drugs in today's world are such a draw to young people as a way to escape when there seems to be no other way then they hook them and their lives are never the same. It truly seems un fair! No parent should have to bury a child. I remember thinking that for the first time after my uncle passed looking into the eyes of my dear heartbroken grandma , or 17 years ago when stomach cancer took a friend at the age of 21, then yet again when I watched a friend carry the coffin of her twin infant girls to a very small grave, and last year when I sat in the service remembering the life of a 6 year old. It is grief at it's rawest for sure.
Deep wrenching hurt - the kind that cause people to question God, to question if he exists, or if he cares. The kind of hurt that has people calling out to God even if they never have before because they want some hope, some assurance that somewhere in the universe there is a heaven and that their loved ones will be safe there. The God they may have cursed in the past becomes the life line they desperately cling to. The same God that with time brings comfort and healing to the hurts, will also be the same God who brings renewed joy as they move forward.
I know that life is not fair, I could tell you dozens of persona stories to support that, but life fair or not is life and every day we have a choice... we can either live and learn or complain and conk. I choose to live and learn, allowing myself to grow into a better person. Knowing that one day down the road the lessons I have learned will help someone else. Just like tonight, my friends were hurting and I was able to just be there in support and just loving them where they are at. And it was good!