Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reflections on a death ...

This past Saturday an 11 year old boy from our small town was killed. My husband and I know his father, but we really didn't know the boy or the rest of the family. His mother works at the Christian school my son attended for 4 years, so we know each other well enough to say hi ... that's about it.

There's something about the death of a child that knocks the wind out of you. It's like a gut punch, you can't breathe. I went to the funeral, and have never seen so many people in one place in our little burg. This family owns lots of land in the area, and are well known and well loved. It was hard to keep the tears back as I listened to people talk of his young life and the things he loved to do. But I know that he is with Jesus, and there's comfort in that fact. My heart breaks for his family, but nothing changes the fact that he has gone on to the next great adventure ... and that changes everything.

I got stuck on something though. I started thinking about how he died. I was told he had gone to a friend's house, someone around his same age, and they took the 4 wheeler out to the pasture. The friend was driving, hit a bump, and the boy was thrown from the ATV, hit his head on a rock, and bled to death. And this is where I'm stuck. I can't get that friend out of my mind or my heart. I keep thinking about that scene, and what that was like for him. I keep wondering how the enemy of all our souls will fight to keep that scene playing in his head and in his heart his whole life. The boy who died is with Jesus, but the boy who lived is potentially in a nightmare.

This week it's all I've been able to pray about. I have no idea who this family is, or where they live, but my heart can't stop praying for them. They need us, any of us who are Christ followers, to lift them to Him, to form a hedge of protection around them from the brutality of the enemy's attacks.

I learned this week that the mother of the boy who died would not let the other family come to the funeral. The first question my son asked when I told him of the death was if I thought the dead boy's family would be mad at the other family. It might be almost less than human to not be mad ... but who is the object of our anger? For myself, so many times my anger in a situation is directed towards people ... in my head I imagine that they have purposely set out to hurt or harm me or my family. What might be truer is that there is a force set against us in this life. That force conspires against us so that our anger is displaced at other people, because if we're so busy being mad at everyone around us then we can't get to the love that we are commanded to give. And that's the enemy's game ... keep us riled up so we forget what's important. Love. period.