Weekend | Worth Reading
Normally I use Sunday to repost something I've read from someone else.
Today I want to republish a post I wrote in 2008.
I revised it a touch...cleared up some typos, etc.
It's been thrity-five years since my friend Blair died.
He was 15.
Long time ago. It still hurts. It always will, for now.
August 12 | A Repost from 2008
This is not one of my favorite days.
I didn't cry...
I just got on my bike and went with my friend to his house. I remember riding down Division Street and referring to Blair for the first time in the past tense. Really, he's gone?
I honestly wondered if this other kid was lying to me.
A while later my parents called for me to come home. My mom and dad weren't home when I got the news. I still remember walking into the house.
It didn't seem real until I saw them.
I walked in. My dad started crying...really crying. He didn't cry much. In that moment I knew it was real. Blair was dead. Then I wondered if I would ever stop crying. I never really have.
Blair has now been gone over twice as many years as he was alive.
So, 31 years later [now 35] I should have some sense of clarity, right?
The "why" of all of it should make sense, right?
I remember people trying to console me by saying, "Maybe God let him die because God knew Blair was going to be a bad person when he grew up." Can I just say, if you are ever tempted to offer that as consolation to someone, don't. Your silent presence would be far more comforting that such an absurd explanation.
Why do we try to explain the inexplicable? Thirty-one years later, and I have more questions than answers. I'm a pastor...I should have all the answers, right? Everything nice and neat in its perfectly-fitted theological cubbyhole.
All I know for sure, without question, is that God is loving and that God is wise. God knows best and He loves me even though what He knows is best hurts more that I could or can bear.
I wonder sometimes how life would have been different if that day hadn't occurred. Don't you wish we got three do-over chips in life? I would have used one of mine that day...no, I would have handed in all three to have him back.
I will never be able to comprehend how much his family must have hurt, and must still hurt. If I feel this way and he was only my friend, what was it like to be his mom, dad, sister or his little brother who saw him die? I wish I hadn't been so stuck in my grief that I could have somehow helped theirs.
Things have changed so much since 1977. If this had happened today grief counselors would have lined up at school. Instead, in my memory it was like everyone just moved on. I'm sure that was not true. They did put up a plaque on the wall at school/church with his picture that looked back at me every day. Beyond that, nobody talked about it. My mom did a good job listening. Not explaining...just listening. I needed that.
I just wish people had talked more.
Last year  I was back home in New York over this weekend. I tried to find his grave. I couldn't even find the cemetery. It's out in the country. I had only been there once. I've not lived in that area since 1985. I got lost. I wanted to find him to be able to say to his family that someone still remembers, even thirty years later. His life was not just 15 years and then nothing. He still matters and still impacts me all the time.
I've rambled here.
That's the way it all feels in my head...a blur of assorted pieces. I try to put them together. They still just don't fit.
I was in high school choir a few years after he died. We sang a song based on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I know it wasn't planned this way by the director, but she will never know how much that song helped me. It reminds us that we do not have to live as hopeless people. We have hope. Life hurts here, but it won't hurt forever.
The last line says it all...So encourage each other with these words.
Though confused, I was encouraged.
Though still questioning, I have hope.