no title for today...

Ahhhh blogging… so much to say…
Today is kind of tough to be honest. I found out yesterday that a kid from my youth group back in Tulsa was killed in iraq. For him the army was a way out of Oklahoma. He wasn't really an active member of the youth group, he came with a friend of his every once in a while, which makes it a lot tougher knowing that there was potential there, and not knowing if the potential for the life of a Christian was ever realized. He was a good kid though. He didn't grow up in the church, I don't know a lot about his family, but I know he led a pretty rough life for the most part in high school. I know the army seemed like a great alternative to hanging to in Tulsa for the rest of his life doing who knows what for a living. The thing that gets me is the way we as Christians throw money and time into events, and we forget the urgency of our job. I didn't know this kid that well, but I know him well enough to feel bad about not doing what I know I could have to help bring him to Christ.
one tough situation that death presents for friends and family is the whole 'what do you say?' question. I've learned that the biggest impact can be just not saying anything, and simply being there and acknowledging the pain of the situation. That being said, here are a few do's and don'ts that should be pointed out.

Don't say:
I know exactly how you feel
At least he doesn't have to suffer anymore
It's God's will
Take this, it'll calm you down
They wouldn't want you to grieve
Don't cry, you'll only feel worse
You can't be angry with God
At least you have other family and friends
I think it's time you get on living your life
Don't talk about it, you'll only feel worse
Time heals all wounds
You've got to be strong

Better alternatives:
I can only imagine what you're going through
They suffered a lot didn't they
One comfort I have is God's promise to never abandon us
Do you feel like talking right now
It's hard to say goodbye isn't it
Sometimes tears are the best way to express your feelings
God understands even when we're upset
Everyone has to grieve in their own way, don't' they
We can talk about whatever you want
Time will lesson the pain I'm sure, but you'll always have a part of them with you
I want you to know it's okay to be yourself around me

Just a few pointers from a counselor friend, given to me a few months ago.

This also has me looking at the way I treat kids on the fringe of the youth group. I've got thirty one kids on my youth roll, and ten of those I would consider ten of those 'fringe' kids that come to very few youth events. There just hasn't been that since of urgency to reach out so far to these kids. I can think of things to say or do that might get them interested, but how do I emphasize the urgency of my job w/o trivializing the death of this young man. I don't want his death to be some bullet point on a presentation, or an anecdote for a sermon. Needless to say, today is a day of prayer and mourning.
On a more positive note, I had a great trip home for thanksgiving. Me and my sister were able to surprise mi madre by getting my sister on an earlier flight home. Pops was pretty stoked too, and even our dog dude was going nuts. Yeah, you gotta love coming home. Mi madre and mi hermana spent all day fri shopping, so me and pops got to chill and hang out and watch movies all day. Thanksgiving itself was pretty cool. The typical families were there, with the noticeable absence of my two friends everlast and nordstroms from the table. Dinner was great and we got to celebrate pops' 50th birthday, which is quite an accomplishment in itself. For the rest of the break I pretty much hung out with pops and laugh, which always makes for a great trip. That, and I had mi madre rockin out to guns'n'roses on the way to the airport.
On Sunday I met the kiddos at pepperdine for the last morning of youthfest. it was cool to see them again and def made me feel good about being back in socal. The akward moment came when the youth group from this past summer came down the stairs and said hola. Two of them seemed pretty stoked, but the rest looked pretty ticked, like I had sold them out or something. Yeah, not the kind of fun akward moment that I typically enjoy.
Last night I took a few kids to see an orchestra performance at pepperdine, which was fun in a sixth-graders-don't-typically-enjoy-the-orchestra kind of way. But my boys toughed it out and they may have even had fun. I had a blast because I've been writing so much music lately. It was good to have a different type of musical inspiration and see how different instruments work together. Thursday we are supposed to go back to pepperdine for a student performance, which should be fun, esp since it's outside and the nights temperatures have been getting down to the high 30's.
Well, I've got a lot of random stuff to do… learn how to install stuff on my new computer, get rides organized, prepare for small group, find video cameras, plans a mission trip and figure out what I'm gonna do with the youth room.

Be sure to keep our troops in your prayers, they all have stories.

One love, one heart.

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