I’m sad to say this, but it seems that every high school class has a significant tragedy that shakes it and leaves it stunned and devastated. My class was no exception. In the late winter of my senior year, I was out with some friends and we noticed that one of our classmate’s cars was parked in a parking lot along the main drag. We were hoping to find her and see if she wanted to hang with us, but we couldn’t find her. We thought that she was with other friends and that she must have gotten a ride to someone’s house or to a party. 9:00 o’clock came and her car was still there. At 11:00 o’clock her car was unmoved. I had driven that night. After I dropped the last person off at his house, I went the long way home – the way that took me by the parking lot where my friend’s car had been parked. At 12:30am, frost was beginning to collect on her car. She had not yet come back. I knew something was wrong.
The next morning I got the news. She was killed in a car wreck. She was the passenger in a car of someone from another high school who was drunk. The stupidity of drinking and driving had claimed another life. Our entire class was allowed out of school early to go to the funeral a few days later. At the funeral, the minister had a Bible in his hand. It was Kim’s Bible. He turned to this Sunday’s second reading, 1 Corinthians 13, and he read, not the words that were printed, but the words that Kim had written. Love (Kim) is patient. Love (Kim) is kind. It (Kim) is not jealous. It (Kim) is not pompous. Everywhere that the word “love” had appeared and everywhere “it” referred to love, my friend had crossed out the word and inserted her name. To say it was an emotional moment would be a terrible understatement. We knew Kim was all of that. She embodied love. The preacher praised Kim for the young woman that she was, but he also looked at us and asked us to reflect on our own lives. Did we embody love?
I left that funeral sad for many reasons. First, we lost a dear friend; but I was also sad because I never knew Kim was devoted to her faith. There were so many things I would have liked to talk to her about – God, faith, how to live as a Christian in high school. All of these things I wanted to know about Kim. It was like she was a book that I liked, but never really read. I went home and read 1 Corinthians 13. Like Kim, I scratched out “love” and “it” and put my name in there. I wanted to live the Word, but I also left that moment with a resolve that I would share my faith with others. I wanted to live love and speak love. I think there are many people of faith who fear that they will be rejected if they talk about their faith with their friends. I left that time with my Bible with a new resolve that I would love more deeply and would let people know that I love because God first loved me.