Friday, January 27

young tragedy

I heard a story yesterday about two strangers, both of them men. Occasionally, someone of importance from the city or country or state comes into the hotel for lunch to view the incredible difference after the renovation. All of us "mentionables" are invited to sit around and chat about the happenings in news and local events. (It kind of makes me feel like a noticeable person in this big city.)

She told the story of the policeman who was on duty that cloudy morning. He was on his motorcycle and had pulled to the side of the road, just barely away from traffic. Without any notice he was struck by a car. The car pulled him from the motorcycle and drug him for 90 feet before running over his abdomen and speeding away. The hospital did all they could to keep him alive, and succeeded, only to leave blood clots all over his body and a severe, inner head injury that could have left him breathless at any moment. His family has mourned for months while they await his full recovery.

By Thanksgiving, he was moving and breathing, but he was still a hollow shell of a man. When Christmas came, he was making a few jokes and looking more like himself, but still doesn't have a memory and full function of his muscles. Knowing he'll never be the man she married, his wife has a permanent sadness in her eyes even though she works hard to tell her kids and their family and all of the community that she's tough, she's hanging in there.

And this horrific story is hard to hear, harder to tell, but isn't what caught my attention. In between the lines of 'he was hit by a car' and 'won't ever be the same', there is a story of the 19 year old driver. She mentioned him only for a few brief seconds as the driver who was young, had been drinking and doing drugs, and didn't even realize he hit anyone. So, he kept driving.

I bet he realizes now.

My heart aches to think that someone so young is dealing with murder charges. Someone so young was choosing to do terrible things to his body and mind, to possibly escape some other reality. Or maybe he was just having fun. But there is this young boy, in between the story of the man and his tragedy, who now has to live with the truth that he nearly killed a man, changed everything about the man, and terrified his family beyond imagination. This young boy, who was apparently battling another battle that night, now has a lifetime battle he'll have to figure out how to fight.

And I hope, I pray, someone is nearby to tell him that he doesn't have to live with the guilt and the shame. I hope someone is close to keep an eye on his emotions, his heart. His heart is what I'm most worried about. Do not misunderstand me, I feel awful for the policeman and his family, and the fact that he may never get to be a policeman again. But what I'm most concerned about, the person I'm most choked up about, is that young man, who is probably and most certainly dealing with a hurt that most of us will thankfully never have to know. And he's only nineteen.

The policeman has a whole support team and the fact that he has just been part of a miracle. I just hope the young man has more people to pray for him and lift him up, rather than sentence him and blame him. I hope he has someone pointing him in the right direction, away from his past decisions, so that he can see that his life can be more than this tragedy.

Have you ever woken up one day, thinking it would be like any other day; full of hope and happiness and anticipation? Have you ever taken a job or bought a car or gone to that event, thinking it would all be such a great thing, only to realize there were battles to face that you had never even thought of? I have, and I wonder if that's how the 19 year old felt that day, the day he decided to make a few "easy", "everybody does it" choices, only to be woken up to find that his life would drastically change in an instant; an instant he probably cannot remember.

My heart aches to think how much the policeman's life has changed, how much his family is grieving, how he'll have to find another passion. But my heart aches to think how much the other man's life has changed, too. It aches to think that he'll have to face the consequences of drastic decisions, how he'll have to fight to keep his head above the murky waters of doubt and fear and guilt, and how big of a mountain he is facing at such a young age.

Tom says I have a tender heart, full of compassion, very Christ-like. I know he is right, I know my heart is good, because it was made that way. If my heart was made to be like God’s, I take comfort tin knowing how God feels for this young man right now. I hope someone tells that young man how much Christ’s heart is aching for him, how much He still loves him.


  1. This comment isn't about this post, but I just read your post on the Good Women Project and your honesty and vulnerability was courageous. Also, you need to listen to the song "Marriage is Hard" by Mark Mathis, which he wrote for obvious reasons.

    "was the dream in our head
    better than the reality
    baby, you and i know
    that's not the way that it should be"

    1. Thank you for the compliment, and for the song. It's perfect.

  2. Isn't this typical of us? And I'm so glad God made us this way. I'm glad we have compassion for all involved in a very unfortunate story! My prayers are with all of those invovled in this story.......
    Love you,