Today I attended a funeral for a young man who was tragically killed while walking to a friend's house last friday night. This has rocked our little community, church and his High School where he was Senior ready to graduate in June. This young man's Mom was a co-worker of mine and she and her boys attend our church. I do not know her super well, but....I am grieving with her. Today was a celebration of his life and the legacy that he leaves behind. He played football and soccer, but also had a creative side which loved music and playing the drums. Most importantly he was a "Friend to All". In his 18 short years, I learned today, he touched so many lives....he had compassion for those less fortunate, less liked and somewhat different. He was a friend to other's when they had no other friend. His smile could light up a room and he plainly loved to have fun with his friends. He was incredibly giving, even through his death. EIGHT people's lives, including two babies, were saved due to his generous organ/tissue donations.
I learned of this awful tragedy when it was announced at church on Sunday morning....I physically gasped when our dear Pastor announced his name. I immediately thought of his sweet, thoughtful Mom. Her boys are her life...she spoke of them and their accomplishments so often. My heart just ached for her. But, I knew without a shadow of a doubt where her boy was now. He was in heaven with his Heavenly Father, whole and healthy...most likely playing soccer and having a sweet time with our Jesus. I knew this week would be hard for our small, close-knit workplace. We are a group of about 22-25 women...all WOMEN. We share almost everything with each other...and are a lot like a group of sisters in a way. More than one of us wears our heart on our sleeve. Not all of us worked closely with Tammy, but...a fair number of us did. And some of the gals I work with have kids who attend the very same high school this young man went to. You can imagine what this was like. But, since Monday I've been really processing all of this. I have that eternal perspective and I know that Jason will be in Heaven...his family and friends will most definitely see him again if they choose Jesus and what He has to offer. But, other's process grief differently...death to them is so final. I've been praying for those I work with that were hit so hard by all of this.....that Jesus would bring them peace and if they heard only a small portion of the message at his funeral it would be the truth about our Jesus and Heaven. And ultimately, how they too could have the assurance that when they died they would join Jason in Heaven. At least 350 students from the High School attended this service today...so many of them hurting and unable to process what has happened. This young man died tragically, but today....over 100 people prayed the sinner's prayer at his funeral. I believe my friend Kim said it best in her FB post today "One life given for so many. What a beautiful and ULTIMATE expression of Christ. Wow."