This is an odd statement to start out with, but isn’t it so true. It was prompted by a friend’s tweet regarding this week being filled with tragedy for so many.
Yes, yes it has. But isn’t every day for someone, somewhere. Are you following me?
Many people in the Franklin, TN area have been following the progress of Josiah Berger, the son of Grace Chapel’s senior pastor, Steve Berger. Josiah was involved in a car accident and has been proclaimed brain dead. Since the event there has been a wave of prayer surrounding the globe for God’s intercession. The support befalling the family has led Vanderbilt Medical Center to request the family to stop receiving visitors, which I personally have never heard of before. It is an amazing testimony to the love and support of so many. And many are probably strangers linked by the wondrous social media tool, Twitter. Of course, this is how I first heard of Josiah.
While yesterday on the East coast, in the small town of Petersburg, VA, a young man named Jason took his own life. He hung himself down by the Appomattox River. Someone noticed and called 911, but it was too late by the time they reached him. There was no prayer vigil, there was no twitter outcry for support for the family, there was only a few emails between friends. He was a friend of John’s. He was in his early twenties and from what I gather did not have the easiest life. He struggled and John’s description of him really took me aback. He said he was insignificant. Not in the harshness of a life that had little value, but that he was one who was rarely noticed. He never made a fuss about anything, never called attention to himself. He was quiet, along for the ride, simple.
Of course, John’s greatest regret is not reaching out to him more. Not making him feel like he belonged more. That he could get through whatever it was that was hurting him so badly. But John didn’t know that this is what he needed because he lived his pain in the shadows. No one knew.
As so often is the case for all of us.
Each and every one of us encounter strangers, acquaintances and even friends who are living in pain, and yet we don’t know. We are either too busy to notice or they are too good at hiding. So before you jump to conclusions about someone’s ‘perfect life’ or rush to judgment about someone ‘getting what they deserve’; step back and ask yourself if you really truly know who they are and what they are living.
Grant each other grace because you never know what tragedy has occurred in their life today.