For a couple of years, I have avoided the “when tragedy strikes” workshops at conferences. I figured I had not dealt with any, and by the time one came along, I would not remember the information anyway. Today, I regretted that choice.
Today, there was a stabbing at a local High School. The incident occurred between two teachers, there were no students involved, and there are numerous rumors floating around about why. I’m not sure it matters. None of “my kids” were physically hurt, some were not even in the building when it happened. And then there is the one that saw the whole thing happened. And he is the one that will never approach me for help, or for a chat, or for anything. I sent him a text message, and talked to his mom. Beyond that, I hope and pray with everything I’ve got that he will find that much needed conversation somewhere else.
As the day went on, and I reached out to the youth in the school I know, I made contact with a senior boy, he was not in the school at the time, but wanted to come talk anyway. I haven’t seen him often since confirmation, so I thought it would a little awkward, but I was determined to be there for him. I made coffee, had cookies ready to go, and waited. He came. We chatted. He did not have much to say about the incident. He attends a special computer program at a county wide school for part of the day, so he had details, but not the whole “lock down experience” that the rest of the school had.
I let him lead the conversation. We talked about college, his sister, his job, his parents, his math grades, his English grades, his concerns about his girlfriend and the effect upcoming college moves would have on their relationship. We talked about my love of coffee. We covered a lot of ground before we got to the stabbing and even then he did not say much. But we were in God’s house, talking through all of it. He felt comfortable, and comforted. I felt blessed to be here. To listen, to love, to pray, and to be a part of his afternoon on a day he will never forget. I am glad he came here, to the church, for that comfort.
Forgive my ramblings, it’s been a long day, but I’m about to get to my point. We all grumble about the “post confirmation exodus.” But I am glad that he know here was a good place to be on a terrible day. As much as I regret the exodus, I’m glad for proof that the peace of Christ lives on in the heart and mind of this young man, and I pray that it does for the others as well.