Wednesday, June 08, 2005

sad, guilty, angry

I got a call last night that one of my former students had died from a drug overdose. In seeing the news report I saw that another of my former students had been at the party with him and engaging in the same kinds of things that led to his death. I'm wrestling with how to feel in the midst of this.
Sad - for the loss of a twenty year old young man who I remember (from 4-5 years ago) as funny, smart, quick to smile or laugh, and generally good to be/have around. Obviously, life had taken a change for him, but his loss is no less sad to me knowing the circumstances. Every life matters. He's not just "another kid on drugs", he's a son, a brother, a friend, made in the image and likeness of God.
Angry - for a lot of reasons not worth discussing, but particularly for the way I found out. A staff member from the church called me to inquire about his "spiritual condition" (translation) was there any information that would allow him to say if D was in heaven or hell? Why does that make me mad? D's "spiritual condition" had to do with more than being lost/saved. He clearly needed something and didn't get it from the church that now feels responsible for him after he's died. For my money, last night was kinda too late to be asking that question. My last conversation with D was probably 4 years ago - I shouldn't be the expert on this. I know some kind of effort was made years ago (at least I need to believe it was), but the scrambling yesterday to try and determine his "destination" really got all over me.
Which leads me to guilty - I can't get away from it. What if I had stayed? What if I had worked harder to help D find a place with us at Jacob's Well? I know I'm not responsible, but unless you've been there, you can't understand the level of responsibility you feel for the kids God puts in your care. I'm also worried now for the other student I saw on the news clip - will I get a phone call about her one of these days?
I've now buried twelve of my kids over the years. Lots of different reasons. Every one of them hurts. If you are the praying kind, say a prayer for D's family and friends. They could use them today.


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