Someone I grew up with died, today. She lived a hard, painful life from the time we were teenagers until just a year or two ago, when she finally turned some things around. Unfortunately, the damage to her body was done.
I know people always want to judge those who have made bad decisions in the past, but we are all human. Her story could have easily been mine. We had mutual friends, we all did a lot of the same things. Some of us were able to put things aside, some were not. Some, when they finally did put things aside have experienced really good fulfilling things…others, sadly, have not.
She had children, family who loved her and friends that cared for her immensely. I will remember her always sitting in front of me in every homeroom, every class, every gym line-up….she was one before me in the alphabet. I will remember her as the girl I rode all over with on our bikes one spring and summer….boys…need I say more? I will remember her as the pregnant teenager, already well on her way to an adulthood of hardship. She lost two friends over the past four years: one was murdered and one died from an overdose. I grew up with both of them, too.
As I drove home from work, I thought about my own past, my time in my town–growing up. I went back in my mind, before we were all trying to destroy ourselves in the various ways we thought we were having fun. I tried to remember us all as innocent, goofy kids. I have to do that sometimes to remember that we had innocence…once it is gone, you can never get it back.
When I look back, I can see how God has protected me from going down similar paths as others I have known.
Today, is a day, that through sadness, I can see God’s love and care–His provision–His faithfulness and most importantly, His power to redeem us. Without any of it, I might just still be in the dark, never to reach or see His light.