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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Tragic Death of a Teenager

I took a break from work to get a some fresh air on Friday. Outside, I noticed on the sidewalk a folded paper. For some reason I felt like I should pick it up. It was a program for a funeral service.

The funeral was for a teenage boy, Jack Denton Reese, held that day, April 27. He was only 17, just a month younger than our youngest daughter. He died a week ago today.

I wonder how that program got from Ogden to Salt Lake City and into my hands. Was it purely by chance?

I do not know the details, but after looking up his obituary online, it appeared from other links that Jack was bullied at school for being gay, and that he committed suicide.

I did not know Jack or his family, but I am deeply saddened by what appears to be the tragic end of a short life. I don't understand his life and I don't judge him. How could I? What do I know about what led him to the day of his death?

Judgment is always based on pride which is founded on misunderstanding which ultimately can lead to violence, even tragedy.

The longer you live and the more trials, hardships and difficulties you have, the less you feel inclined to judge, and the more you feel compassion, acceptance and love, even for people you don't know. 

I don't know what it is like to be gay. I know what it is like to be bullied, though. I know what it is like to feel as if you don't fit in. I know what it is like to be in high school, on the edge of the social circle. I know what it is like to be depressed. I know, even today, what it is like to be overwhelmed.

In what little I know about you, Jack, you were a great young man. Did you drop that program in the street for me to see?

God bless you, Jack, and may He give you rest from all your trials and sorrows.