Justin’s Amazing Adventures

I’m not looking forward to today, but my discomfort pales compared to Wally and Tania De Young who must bury their 19 year old son Justin following a car accident that needlessly took his life.

When I heard of this tragedy I felt that same punch in my gut every parent feels at the thought of such a loss.  There are no words of comfort that truly comfort grieving parents.  There is no way to explain the unexplainable.

Over the past few days on TV a commercial for some product or service has been running over and over.  I don’t remember the product only the image.   It shows a worried Dad leaning into the car to hand his daughter the keys to go out on her own after getting her license.  The image shifts to the kid who is about 5 years old in the Dad’s mind.  Before the end of the 30 second spot you see a teen accepting the car keys and the Dad standing there in the driveway as she drives off.

Helpless!  Scared! Praying the Kid will be Safe!

I can’t tell you how many times I said to myself as one of my kids drove away or failed to return when I expected—“please God let them be safe”.

Justin is safe today in the warm embrace of the One who loves us all.  It is not the outcome we grieve since we all expect that same embrace ‘someday’, but its the ‘please God not THIS day’ timing and the loss of what might have come from this young life lost too soon we mourn.

While I serve Communion to those who gather for today’s service I am going to look each one in the eye and I expect to see on each face that same prayer I am saying to myself writ large—“please God let them be safe.”

PS:  I just returned from this service which was full of love and lessons to remind us how even a life cut short can be filled with “amazing adventures” as the homilist put it so well.  There were no dry eyes in the house when Justin’s sister Chelsea delivered a eulogy that spoke to the hearts of all.  The crowd of near 600 was testimony to the impact of this young man on so many lives and was, in and of itself, his finest tribute.  The Book of Common Prayer reminds us that the burial office is an Easter celebration meant to be full of resurrection, life and joy.  And so it was!


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