Monday, December 12, 2005

Tragic News

" ...for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."--2 Timothy 1:12

Many of you may recall a post I made about a month and a half ago regarding a skateboard competition in which my son placed 2nd.

Yesterday morning, Sunday, we received some tragic news. The young man that won the competition, along with two other teens, was killed in a house fire.

KEEDYSVILLE, MD- Residents in Keedysville woke up to flames on Sunday morning as fire and rescue teams rushed to the scene on Mount Hebron Road.

"A house was on fire; there was a total of six occupants. Three occupants were accounted for and three are deceased," said John Latimer, Director of Washington County Fire & Emergency Services.

School officials from Boonsboro High confirm the students who died were seniors Brian Daigle, Jon Barnes, and Mike Abell.

Read the rest here

I am not good at eulogising. I will say this: He was a good friend of my son. I only met the young man once, at the competition, and I recall a very polite, friendly young man. I liked him instantly.

Oddly enough, This is not the first time a friend of my son was killed in a house fire. Back in Kansas City, one of his classmates was also killed in a fire along with the child's younger brother. It is hard to read my son, to know what he is thinking. He is, like me, not given to outward signs of emotion. I hope he is handling this news as best he can.

Tragedies like these force us to come face to face with our own mortality. It is a stark and shocking reminder that none of us ever know when it is our time to go. It is essential, then, that we are prepared, both in mind and in spirit, for that eventuality.

I was raised to believe that if you are not a Christian, you are not prepared for eternity. I realize some people might not like to read this, but this is how I feel. I know that it seems exclusive and offensive to some, but just because it is unpleasant to hear, it doesn't mean it's not a fact.

I think Jon (my son's friend) was a Christian, but no one but he and God knows that. I know he belonged to the church that held the skate competition, and that he was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the church's name when I met him. Of course, being raised in a church doesn't make one a Christian any more than being raised in a garage makes one a car. We who survive can only hope that he is with Jesus now. It is too late to pray for his salvation.

This is what I am thinking:

Maybe it's time for further introspection. At the risk of being accused of proselytizing (is that really a bad thing?), I just want to say here, that if you don't know where you will spend eternity, maybe it is high time you consider that. I know where I will be the instant I draw my final breath.

Do you?


The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


I am very sorry for the loss and hope your son is ok. It's always worrisome for those who mask their emotions well (I'm the same). I remember that skateboarding post.

As for proselytizing, I don't get upset unless it becomes pestering. I just see it as someone looking out for my welfare, having good intentions.

I just can't believe that a truly just God, if there is one, would care what religion you are or if you are religious, so long as you do good in the world. I can't remember where it comes from, but one quote I always liked attributed to Jesus is, "Follow me, and you'll lose yourself; follow your own self, and you'll find both me and yourself."

I don't wont to wax lengthy (it's almost 2am here), but I think there's much wisdom in those words. In organized religion, I think some people become enraptured with the rituals and trappings, mistaking the finger pointing to the moon, as the moon itself.

If I find God, It will be without the middle man. I think we each have to follow our own paths, and I hope there is not just one path. Otherwise, most of us are screwed.

Mark said...

Smithy, Jesus never said that. One thing he did say was "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him will be saved, For he that believes not is condemned already."

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is unrepentance of that sin that condemns one to eternal separation from God, which is the real Hell, as opposed to a put of fire, which may be a metaphor.

In other words, it is not God that condemns the unrepentent sinner to Hell, but the unrepentent sinner himself.

Therefore, beware because we know not the hour or the day.

Erudite Redneck said...

Redneck prayers aloft for your son, his friend's family -- and his friend. Only some Christians believe the last breath is the last chance. I'm of the opinion that we all need all the prayers we can get.

Erudite Redneck said...

Another way to say that we don;t know, for sure, the boy;s relationship with God is to say we don't know what he had committed to him, to borrow the phrase from the verse at the top of this post.

And so, another question we should all ask ourselves is "What have committed unto Him?"

Feelings? Intentions? Time? Ability? Money? Other resources? Sweat? "All" to Jesus.

My prayer for myself, and for others: May I come each day closer to surrendering ALL to Jesus.

Pamela Reece said...


I am truly sorry to hear this. I understand how when death happens close to us, it causes us to reflect upon our own mortality. It's something I don't like to think about. I try to live my life being the best that I can be and know that all of my mistakes are human and unintentional. I figure as long as I live my life as a good, loving and caring human being, then my eternity will be delivered in the same way.

My thoughts are with this family and those effected by this tragedy.

Gayle said...

Your son will be going through a lot of emotional turmoil, especially if he holds it all in. My prayers go out to him.

My daughter lost two of her closest friends too. One to cancer and one just recently to a car accident. She was able to talk about it, to cry about it, to rant and rave about it. She didn't rant at God, and we discussed her faith. She's way better now and back to normal. I hope that your son does as well.

Toad734 said...


The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

If not Jesus, who said it? I've seen it ascribed to Jesus. Are you sure it's not found in some alternative scripture, such as the gnostic gospels, apocrypha, or some other document not recognized officially and included in the King James version?

I see wisdom in that quote.

GP said...


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, testimony.

I am sorry for this terrible tragedy and pray for comfort for your son, the families of these boys and all who are affected by their loss.

Mark, to your knowledge, has any kind of fund been started to help the families?

If something like that is listed in your local paper, and you'd like to post it here, I'll bet generous folks touched by this would respond.

When you hear about something like this, especially at this time of year, you just feel the need to do something.

GP said...


Could you be thinking about the following, from Mark, 8th chapter:

34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it."

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


I'm not sure. The way I recited it is pretty much the way I saw it phrased, verbatim.

GP said...


Perhaps you might want to at least consider the option that, as you suggested, "most of us are screwed."

I read that as, none of us can do enough good to make it on our own. And I think that's true. I always slip up. That's where Jesus comes in, saying "Rely on me" and give up this whole idea of merits and demerits to make it to heaven.

I agree with a lot of what you say about organized religion and about finding your way on your own. You might find out that your own investigation of the Jesus of the Gospels provides a different picture than what you had perceived from Christians or what you have read on the Internet.

Here's a couple of different types of books on the spiritual journey that have been meaningful to me: "The Case for Christ" by Lee Stroebel and C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity."

Ultimately God cannot be proved or unproved in these discussions. There are things that point to Him, but a leap of faith is required.

Faith is believing that God is good, and I choose to accept that. His character is revealed to us in the life of Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us and offers us forgiveness of sins.

I believe that God, being just, will judge people fairly, and that we are ill equipped for that job. But I believe there is punishment for ultimate rejection.

The Bible says that He did not come into the world to condemn us, but to show us the way to have abundant life. The way we respond is up to each of us, individually.

I can tell you that my dependence on Christ has made me a better person because it changed my priorities. Because I understand that He loves us, I want to do things in return that reflect that love.