My heart is heavy as I write this Thankful Thursday post. A very special young man has died. George Williams. My son, Curt's best friend, was killed in a car crash last week, the details are not yet known. What is known is that George was dear to our hearts.
There will be no obituary for George lived a solitary life. Not by choice, for when he entered your life, he quietly entered your heart. For reasons unknown, he was forced to struggle through the first short years of adulthood without support of family. If I ever doubted the circumstances of his family dynamics, the fact that his mother and sister are not claiming his body to provide a proper burial washes away any doubt I may have previously experienced. It seems in his death he will be forced into isolation as he was in life.
Lest anyone think that he did not make a difference, I am compelled to at least share what he meant to our family. His quiet nature and brilliant smile were only surpassed by his endless determination. After graduating from high school, George found himself homeless. His ability to secure jobs without benefit of a car amazed and confounded this suburban momma. For many, disappointments and hardship justify economic impoverishment. For George, it motivated and inspired as he worked to make his dreams come true. It wasn't easy, there were many hard knocks; at each one, George picked himself up and persevered. Without accolades, George persistently moved forward; in fact, at the time of his death he was attending a local community college. You may not have known it however, unless you would ask. For George did not toot his own horn.
I rarely saw my son without his best friend. Curt, 6'5" and George shorter than me, they made quite a picture! Although the difference in height and heritage, these two young men shared a brotherhood of the heart. Now, of course, neither would say it, but oh how they lived it. As Curt heard the news, and although he tried with all of his testosterone filled might to hold back the tears, his shock could not prevent the raw emotions as he cried for the loss of his brother.
My friends, I am thankful for this young man. For the friendship he shared with my son, for the opportunity we had to share in his life. I am thankful for each moment spent with him. There was so much to learn from this young man. At first glance, the view seemed bleak. Still, with further inspection, we found a polite, sincere, struggling young man who relied on integrity and character for it was truly all that he had. His all was more than enough.
Today, as you remember all that you are thankful for, add to your list the opportunity to see beyond what is evident (Hebrews 11:3). Yes, George was a prodigal and was on my prayer list for the past ten years. While he did not live long enough to see the tangible answer to my prayers, I believe that our God's faithfulness is not dependent on the physical realm. Yes, my heart aches to know, to really know that George is safe in the arms of God, experiencing the healing love that only Jesus provides. Through my tears of grief and loss, I can see clearly the Father waiting for George, with open arms, bidding him home. For as long as I have waited to welcome this prodigal home, God our Father has provided the way home for each of our loved ones. It is not my confidence in the anything seen or known, it is not my faith in my ability to pray; it is my solid belief and trust in our God as seen in Luke 15 and can hear him say, "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15: 22-24).
Each day counts, each life matters. I am thankful that you have taken the time to celebrate a life too short. And yet, George's life and death have brought to mind the very real truth of the matter: we must never underestimate the difference a moment can make. As I review times spent with George, I am so thankful for the seeds planted. I am most thankful that the Holy Spirit takes those seeds, waters them, nurtures and cares for them as they grow into something glorious.
Yes, George continues to make a difference in our lives. I am thankful for having known him, for his smile, and for his heart. And should we all be reminded to reach out and bless someone today, no matter the hardship, no matter the despair, no matter the outlook--I am thankful that the life of one solitary life spoke volumes.