On our blog we have a writing schedule to help us keep track of things and to share the workload as equally as we can, and typically my writing day is on Wednesday. This week I was a little behind (per usual) and I was going to tidy up my post on Wednesday morning to post towards lunch. I was unable to do this because I received a call from my director about an overnight student suicide involving a young lady from one of the high schools we serve.
In recent years our organization has been called upon to work with area school districts in crisis situations like student deaths. Unfortunately we have been called upon a lot as of late. We are thrilled to help, but hate that these situations arise.
When called upon, we create a “safe room” of sorts for students and families to come and process the tragedy. While very few end up taking advantage of this resource, those who do tend to really benefit. In this particular case we had no students or families show up until the final hour, but those who did show up really got me thinking about the power of ordinary, quiet places.
The young lady who ended her own life abruptly was an active member of the school marching band and, from what I understand very popular and beloved in this tight fraternity. Five of her friends and a few of the band directors came in to our safe room to talk and to process. These young ladies were definitely in what is called the denial stage of grief. This isn’t to say that they were purposefully ignoring what was going on. They did talk about how numb they felt and how it didn’t feel real. What was going on was just too difficult to process.
For a facilitator, this can be a tricky road to walk. There tends to be some internal pressure to create an environment where kids can cry or “break through” their denial, but in such a fragile situation we found a question that led us down a most holy path:
“Tell me about your friend.”
Before this question was asked, the adults in the room spent a lot of time (albeit, necessary time) helping the girls understand they were safe and that they needed to talk. We covered how important it was to reach out when they were hurting and make sure they did not become isolated.
Yet it wasn’t until we asked the very simple question above did they really start to talk.
This simple question led to some very basic and simple memories about their friend.
Her sense of humor.
Her heart for people.
Yet, when these simple truths filled the room a holy peace seemed to descend on these tender grieving souls while tears and laughter danced together in a mysterious cloud. While the healing process has a long way to go, peace had her chance in the midst of tragedy.
The theme of the week is one we have discussed many times before on our blog. Margin is attained in very simple and mundane ways as we walk through a confusing life.
So this weekend I challenge our readers to once again, ask simple questions and open your eyes to the beautiful work of your creator around you. To serve a God with so much power, yet revealing his work in such simple ways shows we serve a creative and mysterious Lord.
And, even in the midst of tragedy – especially so – we can find peace in the simple things of life.