My seventeen year old Caleb had to write an final essay for his English class and turn it in today. I post it here because I of the depth of the pain he talks about and because it is encouraging to me. Thought it might be to you as well. He titled it “What do I Believe?”
One of the many things I believe is that no matter what, good things can come from bad experiences, even if at times you can’t understand what they are. People go on about their lives after something bad has happened and they act as if nothing had ever happened. At first they can’t come to realize it, but sometimes bad things happen for a reason. You can blame it on God all you want, but the truth is, it’s all his doing. Take for example, the terrorist attacks on 9/11; even though it resulted in the deaths of over 3,000 American lives, it brought our country together on a level not really seen since the attack on Pearl Harbor back in World War II.
My cousin Josh was my best friend and in many ways my third brother. We did everything together and were rarely seen without each other. We spent every summer together and had the greatest times together. Then, in 1999, my family had to move when I was only eight years old. I was separated from my best friend and brother, all that I knew in Colorado, my home state, along with my friends, family, and the house I grew up in. Even though we made yearly visits to Colorado every summer for vacation and recreation, as time went by, we grew up and grew more distant due to the 700 mile gap between our two states. The time that we did spend together was always like we had just seen each other yesterday instead of the year we had been apart. The two of us would always relive the old days when we were just ten years old, and play and play until we couldn’t anymore. Even though we knew our time together was going to be cut short we made the best of every moment we had together.
Just two years ago the worst thing imaginable happened. My cousin Josh, the best friend I had ever had, died. He committed suicide due to depression and other unknown reasons. When I was informed about what had happened to my cousin, I felt the most pain I ever felt in my entire life. It just hit me like a 3,000 ton weight on my heart. It was the most pain and sorrow I had ever experienced. I didn’t know even know how to deal with the tragedy, so I just cried and cried like I never had before. At first I couldn’t even believe it. I just kept repeating in my head, “No this couldn’t have happened; not to me. This kind of thing happens to other people, not me!” I was so angry at him for what he had done to my family and me. I was angry at God, and I blamed him for what happened. It just didn’t make any sense to me why he would let this happen. The meaning of things like this is extremely vague and hard to understand. My mind was so blown away at the fact that my best friend and cousin Josh was no longer a part of my life.
During our childhood, my cousin and I always dreamed of one day becoming police officers and being partners in the same department. As kids we played with toy guns and killed bad guys and criminals on a daily basis. We watched the TV show Cops a lot, and we loved reenacting the scenes from the show. During our years apart, I drifted away from the idea of one day becoming a cop. But after my cousin died, something inside of me was triggered; and I just knew that when I grew up I wanted to be a police officer just liked we had planned. His death motivated me to again pursue what we both had wanted to do. That’s what I intend to fulfill for him and for myself. My cousin Josh will always be one of the biggest influences on why I want to be a police officer. I wish that he had never died, so that we could do what we wanted to do, and I would still have my cousin in my life. But, I have learned to find a purpose in what was a tragedy.
After all that has happened in this world and in my own world, I still believe that good things can come from bad things, and everything has its purpose in life whether we can figure it out or not. Life is a learning experience and sometimes we have to learn to accept what happens and learn to find our own purpose and meaning through those experiences.
See what I mean? I dare you to not believe in hope and the ultimate goodness of our God after reading that. Caleb might not know it but he was expressing exactly what the Apostle Paul said when he wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
So get your head up and pay attention to what the Lord is up to in this world. Have hope. Believe.