Monday, June 25, 2007

Praying for a Friend

A friend of mine, Tim Huff, that I knew during my Evergreen days, just sent out a sad email about one of the youth he had been working with who took his own life. I thought I would share the email with you.

Dear friends,

I spent the afternoon at the hospital bedside of a seventeen year old homeless boy, just praying and being there talking to him (even if he could not hear me?) while the machines monitored the quickening pace of loss of brain activity. No family present. And this evening he has passed away. He took his own life, as his history and his world had worn him past what he could handle. As always, he took a piece of my soul that I can not get back and that will always leave me wounded – at least in this lifetime. But far more than that – he gifted me immeasurably with his presence, even into his final hours.

At the hands of death alone, I have said “good bye” to more than 40 teenagers in my 20 years among street-involved youth. All have deserved the best in life, all have been precious, fascinating young ones with extraordinary potential and countless dreams for life and love. And, having framed every bit of my own theology around the absolute that God is always both just and merciful…I believe all these ones, so damaged in this lifetime, so far removed from knowing sustaining love that reveals otherwise, are made new now in His care. I have to.

But it does not excuse a society that belittles, hurts and ignores those seen solely as a bother or nuisance or worst of all…someone else’s problem. A piece of all of us dies with ones such as this, whether we recognize it or not.

In his honour, and the good stead of what is a nonnegotiable when it comes to doing what is vital…I plead with you, that today you would cherish the young people in your arms-reach and have them know how special and priceless they are. In your home, at your camps, in your neighbourhood, in your school rooms, in your churches, on the streets…maybe just some nervous young person training at the till at a McDonald’s who needs you to be a bit patient and smile…anywhere. What you do and say on this day could change a young life forever. I believe it with all of my heart. Our sons and daughters, your sons and daughters, without question…God’s own.

Wearily and lovingly yours, Tim

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