On Thursday I woke up and, as is my unsavory habit, checked my Facebook feed. As I scrolled through my timeline I noticed that 3 people had posted on the timeline of a girl whom I had taught years ago. She wasn't someone that I had kept in touch with very well, but as I read the messages I thought, "Did she die?" There wasn't anything conclusive from the posts, but I figured that I would find out later what had happened.
I did. And it was the story that went along with the passing away of this young lady was more horrific than I could have ever imagined. I will not recount the story here. Her memory deserves better than that. And nobody deserves what happened to her.
That being said, it was her choices, both in her past and the ones directly leading up to her death, that, well, put her in the position that she was in. And it makes me sad that she was never able to overcome the addiction that ruled her life.
In their song Guns For Hands, 21 pilots hints at what it is like to be an adult who works with kids, and young adults,who make choices that are risky.
When the sun shines on the ground,
And shows what you have done,
It shows where your mind has gone,
And you swear to your parents,
That it will never happen again,
I know, I know what that means, I know.
That you all have guns,
And you never put the safety on,
And you all have plans,
To take it, don't take it,
Don't take it, take it, take it.
I'm trying, I'm trying to sleep,
I'm trying, I'm trying to sleep,
But I can't, but I can't when you all have,
Guns for hands, yeah
One time, after speaking at the graduation of a girl who had graduated from a residential treatment program, a woman came to me and said that I needed to guard my heart more.
Yeah, I'd cried. That's not unusual. I'm kind of an emotional guy. But I listened to her and then decided that I would not take her advice and would choose to love with my whole soul, even though it would mean heartache sometimes. Like right now.
We weren't close anymore, my friend who is no longer with us. But one of the things that I have noticed about love is that as more people to love come into you life, the capacity love love grows. And even though you love new people, the love that you feel for those in your past doesn't necessarily diminish. I guess what I am trying to say is that love isn't a finite resource that gets used up. It grows and expands and is one of the beautiful parts of life.
Yeah, I've been wrestling with this philosophy of mine. But that doesn't mean that I don't still believe that life generally works out the way it is supposed to. I think that to live a life without that hope would take the meaning from many of the challenges and tragedies that I have faced in my own life.
It could be true that I am just lucky to have a positive disposition and that I tend to look on the bright side of life. I've been accused of see the world through rose colored glasses. Sometimes I think that people assume that I just ignore, or am not aware, of the negative that goes on. Sometimes I do choose to ignore it. Largely though, I choose to live joyfully and fully, despite wrestling with the challenges in my life and in the challenges in the world.
And I want others to see the beauty in life. I want those around me to believe that they are worthy of and capable of creating beauty in their own lives. In the last ten years or so I hope that something that I've said or done has gone with the kids that I've had the chance to work with. Because I know that, in my heart, I've taken them with me. And now one of those beautiful people that I've had the opportunity to love has taken part of my heart with them to the afterlife where I hope that she is at peace and is finally free from the challenges that she faced in this life.
Even as I write this I feel guilty that I am taking a tragedy and coming to terms with it by writing a piece on how it effects me, and how I see things. So why am I writing this anyway? Maybe its because I feel guilty that I will not be able to make it to the memorial service and I just want people to know that I am not callous and unfeeling, but that I have gone deep into the well of thought and feeling to try to make sense of something so senseless. But, there I go... bringing it back to me again...