“You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.”
Psalms 4:7-8 NLT
Yesterday has been a rough day.
A former student of mine passed away this weekend by his own hand. I say mine in a very selfish way. Really he is one of ours, our community's, His loss brought our community together last night after the basketball game. The community mourns together. The collective groans of agony have been heard at school and in the hearts of many students. Today is the funeral. I've spoken with Mom and Dad. I can only imagine their pain. I can't even express myself beyond feeling sorrow for them. I fervently pray for peace within the family, close friends and my students that are hurting and searching for answers. I pray the powerful God of this universe will provide comfort in a real and powerful way. I pray my my own words and thoughts will be adequate in helping our kids heal, regardless how slow that process will be.
This young man gave me great joy. He made me laugh. I wasn't very effective teaching him math, but I didn't care. We had fun, learning, together. Every good teacher builds a lasting bond with their students. When they graduate they take a part of you. By the time you retire, you have nothing else to give. But when you lose one of "your kids" it sucks a lot more out of you. I've had smarter kids, I've known some of my students for a longer time, but it doesn't lessen the loss. He was still mine. I treasure, deeper than anyone can ever know, every kid I've taught or coached.
As I said goodbye last night at the funeral home, God gave me a gift. I got to see a former student, athlete of mine. Yep, she was mine. I hadn't seen her in a long while. My heart beat with joy as I asked her what she was up to. She got saved. and has been following Christ for many years. She home-schools her kids, four beautiful kids, and has a wonderful husband who loves the Lord. There is no greater joy in the midst of the sorrow and pain.
Thank you Lord for letting me sleep knowing I am safe in your arms and that even through our darkest days, you are with us. Please Lord, continue to make your presence known throughout this community. Comfort us. Show your love, Amen.