Last week in Northbrook a teenager took his own life. He was to be a senior in high school, was on the football team, seemed to be popular and of good spirits, belonged to our Catholic church, and from all the responses and comments that follow the articles it seems like everyone knew him and his family, and they are well loved by our community. Everyone speaks of how loving, kind, and full of potential this young man was. It seems that if he would have just looked around he would have had a huge support network to help him through whatever troubled him, yet he turned to suicide as an option.
As a parent I'm terrified and saddened by this. We speak to Emma and Jared about so many topics, we tell them that if they can't come to us turn to a trusted source, we tell them that we are there for them, that we love them, that God loves them, that so many people love them and want them to succeed and we are all there for them...that they never have a need to feel alone and helpless. I'm pretty sure that this young man was probably raised with the same message. He chose to go his own way and left a lot of people behind asking why.
This is a reminder that no matter what age our children are, and how confident and mature that they may seem, that everyone has inner struggles that may not show on the outside. The messages that I speak to my children need to always be there no matter what age they are. It is also a reminder that we will not always understand the reasons behind God's plans. Faith may seem to be a simple concept, but it will challenge every part of us.
I pray that this young man found the peace he was looking for, and I pray that the Lord brings his family through this, that the love of this community will surround them, and that each of us will remember that growing up is not an easy task, and that just because one may be a grown up that it does not mean that there are not inner struggles to overcome. I pray that each of us search for love, compassion and empathy, and that we use these powerful tools towards each and everyone in our lives on a daily basis to do good.