Saturday, November 22, 2008

Florida Teen Commits Preventable Online Suicide

A young man, in his prime, took his own life with a webcam running as logged on users typed away. NONE called for help till 10 hours later. This is a somber reminder that as we pass each other on the roads to our various destinations, we never really know what is going on in each others life. Take the time to talk to one another. Pass a stranger and smile (not freakishly of course). A kind word can go a long way. I know many of you have seen this story before, but I think this event is a good time to revisit it. Remeber your words have power. The power to hurt AND the power to heal. God Bless you all, God loves you, and so do I. The story...

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon),so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives." He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!" There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!" He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!" He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. "Thanks," he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story."

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable. "I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse. God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The days after....

The sun began peeking through the blinds. I felt the heat on my face and began to stir. I barely slept a wink, I had to see the election results and listen to the commentary. I felt tired, too tired to work, I’ll take today off. This was the new day in America that we have prayed for; this was the first day of the new chapter in history for our country and just as importantly for OUR people. Surely the people had celebrated themselves to giddiness, and they were sleeping in or too tired to do anything. I decided to dedicate my day to reviewing the new America. I got in my car and began driving, not really knowing where I would go. The sun seemed a little brighter this morning. I need gas so I pulled into a station, but gas was still over $3 a gallon. I guess that will take time...change is coming … I bought a cup of coffee at $1.50…Yeah that will go down soon…change is coming.

I looked around my neighborhood, and to my dismay…things looked much the same as they had been yesterday. Maybe the historic events of the previous night have not taken root yet. Is it possible that there are still people apathetic to the significance of THIS election? Ok, let’s wait to see what happens later. I decided to give it a little time.

In Afghanistan, another soldier lost his life…nothing changed there yet…In Iraq, another life given in defense of …well of an ideal…no changes yet. Domestically, people were murdered, robbed, and beaten today as with any other day in the life of this great country. Hmmm…I guess this may take longer than I thought. I kept looking around, day after day, waiting patiently for change to happen. It never did. I wondered what is wrong with YOU people? Why won’t you …just…just …. CHANGE? I found myself getting more and more disappointed as each day passed. Disappointment became sadness, sadness turned to indifference, and indifference became anger. In a fury now, I began to curse the day I was filled with hope for a better tomorrow.

As I prepared for another angry angst filled day, I went to the bathroom to prepare for the day. There I found the source of my issues; the problem had been there from since that Election Day. The problem had been staring me in the face all along. The change I was looking for was not to come from some dynamic figure or history making event. The change had to start with me. I had to change. I had to do what I hadn’t done before… I had to do what I wouldn’t do…. I had to take personal initiative and start the change ball rolling. The change was to come from each of us…all of us…doing just a few things, just a little bit differently. Things that contribute, rather than take away….things that build up rather than tear down. I’ve always had the answer…we’ve always had the answer. It has always been, and still is up to us as individuals to institute the change we seek in our lives.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Looking back....A More 'Perfect' Union

a little higher...

today we walk with our heads just a little higher. today we enter a new era of change. today we who know, are left with fewer excuses. today we have more reason as a people to be proud. today we see before us the work that remains to be done. today we reach out to those who would try to keep us down. today the dream is realized. today our children can see the possibilities that our parents never saw. today we walk with our heads...just a little higher.