Let’s face it, death is never easy to deal with; but it is even harder when it is sudden and when it is a teenager. We got the word today that one of my oldest daughter’s classmates died suddenly yesterday while on vacation with his family – celebrating his graduation from high school. Even though this is not a young man who I ever had a conversation with, I am filled with sadness – sadness for his family and friends, sadness for my daughters who interacted with him in band, sadness for his band family. However, I am aware that the sadness I feel isn’t just “for” others, it is simply a deep sadness that a young life has come to a sudden end.
When the person who dies is someone we know, and in my daughter’s case someone her own age, it can be very unsettling. In the midst of our grief, we brush up against our own mortality, the awareness that even someone young can die. We are invited to look deeper within ourselves and recognize our own vulnerability and the reality the death is a part of life, and is not only reserved for those who are elderly and very sick. We do not know all the particulars surrounding this young man’s death, but even if we did, it would not take away the sadness and confusion, or the grief.
In the midst of the sadness in my heart, I am also incredibly amazed and proud of my daughter. She knew that this young man was not traveling a healthy path, and yet she is able to look beyond the poor choices he was making and look deeper. She was and is able to see the good that is within him and the amazing musical talent that he possessed. When I think about it, this is what is truly important in life – looking for and seeing the goodness that is in one another.
It is my belief that the goodness we see within the depths of another is the essence of God’s love and presence. In the midst of our grief we must remember that God’s presence has been and continues to be with the one who has died, but is also with us. This is one of the things I have learned from Scripture, that we are to look deeper, look beyond the trappings, mistakes and negative projections; and see the goodness of God deep within one another.
Seeing this goodness may not make grief easier, and it certainly does not take away the pain of this sudden loss, but it can give us strength and courage to walk the path of grief and to walk along side those who are grieving and deeply hurting. My heart remains sad with the news of this death. My heart continues to hurt for my daughter and the family and friends of this young man. Yet, I can touch the power of transformation by seeing the goodness my daughter sees and can proclaim that even here, God is.
May we all take the time to look deeper and see the goodness of God in one another…
Holding you all in the healing light of God’s love,