It’s reaching towards the end of the semester, the year, and my college experience. My childhood, if not already long gone, is definitely heading towards a definitive close. I know how I get around this time of year (all sappy and sad). It’s the period of waiting, preparing, and yet also remembering. What better way to wait than remember right?
I still think back to the summer before my senior year of high school. I went to New Zealand and Australia. But when I think about that trip I don’t think of all the places we saw or things we did (although they were very exciting), I think about the night I went swimming at a resort in Australia on one of the last nights of the trip. Maybe it’s because I love the night, or swimming, or feeling so right that night. Or maybe it was a combination. But when I think back to my short floating session, I can’t help but remember the only other person in the pool that night. A boy who was also on our trip, although I had hardly talked to him before then. Our travel group was big and he was a part of a different group of friends. But there he was, alone, in the pool.
The pool was beautiful. It was wide with long lanes that lead to a cutoff that overlooked a lake. At the right spot, it looked like the pool water was hovering above the lake. On the far side of the lake was a magnificent tree with a single spotlight which mirrored it on the motionless water. The stars were unbelievable and the pool was colored so blue it seemed as if I was swimming in the sky. I swam over to this boy. It was just too perfect to keep all to myself. But he wasn’t interested in conversation. He told me politely enough that he was working on improving his swimming. So up and down he went, slowly, but surely. So I continued to float, staring into the stars.
Less than two weeks after we returned to North Carolina, this boy was dead. He was hit by lightening which induced a coma. He died soon after from pneumonia. I attended his memorial service, the first I had ever been to. What I remember, and still feel, is peace. Peace that night and peace at his service. It’s hard to think about a life, all the hopes and dreams, history, beliefs of a person and come to some logical conclusion other than this is what God willed. This boy had a full life. I had the privilege to glimpse it.
What I remember tonight is how wonderful and mysterious God is. I know every encounter I have is the plan of God and I hope to allow these experiences to touch my heart, even if its in anger or fear. He makes things right. I just have to hold on through the painful and joyous lessons alike.
God bless you this Advent!