We spent the weekend with our sweet daughter and son.
My heart struggled to leave them... an emotional week, leaving me raw.
It seemed sadness and heartache, in our country and friends lives had formed a cloud around me.
I was holding my sweet ones closer, believing I could protect them.
Saturday night my husband and I had dinner with our nineteen year old son.
A boy/man finding his way in the world.
We talked life, relationships, his track team, encouraging the freshman guys to stay strong, remembering how hard it was for him to be far from home that first year.
The newness of the new... the foreignness of the strange and unknown, adjusting to life as a college student.
We talked of his upcoming trip to Australia this summer. Being responsible for the cost and learning how to balance his many responsibilities.
The boy and dad talked of younger days, when dad would come home and the boy would wrestle him to the ground, before dad could change into clothes more suitable for wrestlemania.
The dad quickly forgot anything besides the moment with his boy, as the groaning and crying would continue until someone cried uncle.
They talked baseball days. Little league, farm, suited.
Dad and the boy loved baseball.
Back then... neither of them imagined running would end up the son's college sport.
The boy laughed as they reminisced about specific games, the outcomes, some good, some not so much. The boy remembered how hard it was running in cleats.
We didn't know he had feet made for thin running shoes, no room for a sock, causing blistered feet and mangled toes.
The boy shared his growing faith in God and his desire to serve him with his life.
Friday he had handed letters to the husband and I, through the fence, at his track meet. He shared how he appreciated the support and love over the years, hoping to be as Godly and supportive a husband and dad as his has been.
He told me he desires a wife who loves her God, husband and kids as I do. I think he mentioned something about being fun too.
Tears in my eyes as I read this letter.
We walked away from dinner that night looking at each other, mumbling, "Who was that man we were with?"
Grateful, oh yeah.
Blessed, you better believe it.
Nineteen. Just nineteen. Still a young one, finding his way.
Truth is... he knows he is safe with us. He knows we have his back. He knows who he serves, the God of creation.
He has the support of a team and friends who care for one another, holding each other accountable.
He knows we have set high standards for him. Not that he will never fall or fail, but that we will be there to help him up and set him back on the path... of Truth and light.
Still my boy.
I think of another nineteen year old, who lays in a hospital room, because of his own hands.
A boy who followed his brother down a path, of destruction.
Who believed lies.
Who caused such grief and pain... to so many.
My heart aches for these people.
A boy whose parents think differently than us.
I have never been in their home, but I have read enough to know that life, discussions and beliefs were different than in our home.
I do not know how this nineteen year old became the monster he was on that day or in the proceeding days... but my heart aches... for that mother and her boy.
Even if she is a mother with a warped sense of reality.
She has lost her sons and no mother births babies ... thinking they will live this reality or come to this end.
My heart is heavy with grief for this boy/man who will never come to maturity and be the man he was intended to be, by the God of creation.
Did he know the unconditional love of a father and mother?
Did anyone share truth of a God who loves all people and whose definition is love?
Was he loved, believed in, told he could be anything he wanted to be?
Did his dad wrestle with him, grab his cheeks and tell him he loved him?
I don't know.
I am grateful that I could hug my boy this weekend, laugh with him, tell him I love him. To know in complete truth that I will never worry this could come of him. To know he loves his sister, and would protect her from harm. To know his feet are set on solid ground, in the light of Christ.
I am sorry for this boy and this mother and this family, destroyed... by their own hands,
and the devastation and pain left in their wake.
My heart grieves... and I am reminded of God's love for His world and my role in sharing Him
with all I meet, no matter who, what, where.
We are all in need of a Savior.