This past weekend was extremely rough on our local teens. Two tragedies in one weekend. A student in Carroll County committed suicide and another student in Galax died after battling a heart problem. Most of the teens in our youth group knew both. In a small town, even if you don’t really know someone, you typically know who they are. Our youth group meeting was very somber and reflective as the teens talked about the weekend. We prayed for the families and friends, and we prayed for the opportunities God would open up through this. No matter how many times I have talked about loss or even experienced it with youth, it never gets easy. Never.
I have learned what not to do. Don’t have all the answers – people experiencing loss don’t want to hear the same patronizing answers. They want to know you care. In many situations, we simply cannot understand why something happens. Trusting God means that we won’t always have the answers.
I have also learned what you should do. Go out of your way to show compassion. Make a phone call, send a note, send an email, give someone a hug, just show up and listen. And most importantly pray for God to give you strength and pray for opportunities to point people to God.