I write to reflect on the fragility of existence and the bitterness of a life lost too soon. This week, whilst we were away in Bristol, events unfolded here at home that led to the sudden death of a young man whom we had known for many years and who of late had struggled with the trials of his life.
Sue and I were with him the day before we left for Bristol. He was deeply despondent about his life’s circumstances but more significantly had lost any sense of future hope. He was of an age to be our son. I told him that no matter the hardship, he was truly and deeply loved by his Maker but months of struggling in his own confusion has made him impervious to truth and deaf to words of encouragement. All we could do in the hour or so before he left was sit with him in his personal darkness.
After he drove away my wife and I shared our anxiety for his well being, but we had no means of contacting any family members nor of knowing where he was going next .
When we returned from nearly a week away, we learnt that after a weekend with his young son (who lives with his estranged partner) this young man took his own life, under the wheels of a train at a lonely level crossing.
I confess to struggling with unanswerable questions. What else could we have done? Why could I not communicate God’s love to him in a way that would have given him a hope deeper than his perceived problems? Who could we have we told of our concerns? Would anyone have been able to do anything anyway?
In truth all such hypothetical questions are a waste of time and breath. I must content myself with the certain knowledge that God sees all, that it is His understanding that matters in the final event, and that His grace is deeper than I will ever know. I therefore entrust this young man into His hands and pray the grace of peace and compassion of Christ upon his family as they struggle to hold together in this tragedy.
Storms of life
The bleakness of a life
Seemingly without hope
And solitary sudden death
On a lonely crossing.
An emptying of soul
Crowded out by dark despair
That screams futility in the face of grace.
And those whom loss leaves
Bleeding and confused
Stand mute and disbelieving
In the void where once was life.
Questions echo in the emptiness -
Yet answers none,
But pain beyond the bearing
In the absence of a brother and a son,
And a young boy’s yearning.......