On September 11th, 2016, a friend from university passed away. I don't know whether friend would have been the proper term to describe us, but we were friendly with each other. He was changing a tire, and a car crashed into him and his friends. I found out when I stepped off the plane back to California. My heart feels so heavy; my flight back to work is at the same time as his wake.
To be completely honest, I have no idea how to even begin to describe the feelings I feel, and the shock I felt in finding out. It hits hard, every time. Benny was such a sweet guy, and I can honestly remember every awkward, funny moment we had. I can remember the jokes he said, the concerns he shared during Morning Prayer, the way we bonded over theater... I feel like I can almost remember everything, but I don't, and it kills me a bit on the inside that I can't make new memories with him. I never really reached out to him after I graduated. We just existed in an almost parallel universe of liking each other's Facebook posts here and there. But why ? I kept asking myself why I stopped talking to him after I graduated. Why I never tried to reach out. I couldn't find any justification, and God couldn't really give me any answers at that moment. I lingered on his Facebook, watching as one by one, his friends and family wrote messages to him. And I realized I only had a year and a half of memories with him, and I didn't even have one picture with him, other than one of his back as he was carrying my bag. I hate that regardless of how many times I learn this lesson, or how many times this has happened to "wake me up", I always fall back to slumber, forgetting to reach out to others. Forgetting to check up on others. Because you never know.
My heart is aching. I can only imagine how much worse it is for his parents and closer friends. He was a light in so many people's lives. As sad as it is, it is uplifting to see how many lives he's impacted. I still don't know why he had to leave so soon, but God does. Lord, You know why You called him home. I'm thankful that Benny was declared dead on scene, because at the very least, he did not suffer. This reminded me: death is all around. Physical, emotional, and spiritual death. How many people die all three deaths in the exact same moment? College ministry is something that tugs so much at my heart strings because I have been there. That moment where I was emotionally and spiritually dead, and I wanted nothing less than to be physically dead, as well. We don't know what might happen in the next moment. What if my roommate never reached out to me? Time is of an essence. Constantly ticking. Constantly counting down. Every second, every moment, a precious life is lost. Why are we not holding on to time desperately and purposefully? "Having a motive" has such a bad connotation, but is it really bad to be intentional about reaching out and sharing with sincerity? To give with love, and expect nothing; simply plant the seed and let it grow through Christ? Why are we so afraid to seem desperate? Shouldn't we be desperate?
I'm ranting, I know. I still can't really gather my thoughts, and everything is coming out in sentence fragments. Please pray with me for Ben's family, as well as his friends' families (one also passed away, and another is seriously injured). Let God heal their families and bring them closer to Him and rejoice in the hope that we will all meet again in His presence.
I will end this post here, lovely reader. Please stay safe. If you ever need to change out a tire, call AAA or the police. Flash your emergency blinkers, and don't get out of your car.
Hopefully with a more uplifting post next time: