Today was a busy day. Not that different from most days, but a day I'll always remember. A few days ago I sent a Facebook message to a friend from high school. Today while I was checking my Facebook account, George popped up with a chat message. He's a songwriter in Nashville, so we discussed writing and high school English with our favorite teacher, Mr. Smith and eventually he asked who I kept in touch with. Besides Facebook, unfortunately there's only one person from high school I've kept in touch with, and she was and is my best friend, Paula. He gave me names of people he still talks to and we shared stories. Then it happened. There it was in black and white:
You're probably saying, "Who in the world is Larry Hadley?" Larry lived across the street from me. When I was the new girl in the neighborhood, Larry went out of his way to be my friend. Larry was my first boyfriend, but only if you count 4th grade boyfriends. He asked me if I would be his girlfriend by sending me a note that said, "check this box for yes". I got to stay out late playing basketball with Larry and his dad because my mom could see me from the living room window. We shot free throws for hours every night all summer - and most other seasons, too. He gave me gifts. Mostly cheap costume jewelry that I later found out he stole from his mom, but it still made me feel special. Larry was a nice guy and he got along with everyone. Everyone except his parents.
When we were in high school, Larry's family moved. He still went to our school for a while, but didn't live across the street anymore. Later in high school, Larry's parents kicked him out. I'm not sure why, but he never went back home. While we were carefree and cruising Broadway as high school seniors, Larry was going to a nearby school during the day and working long hours at McDonald's at night to support himself. I don't know how he did it, but he finished high school. He also went into management at McDonald's. From there, he managed a local Radio Shack, then I heard he became a regional manager. That's the last I heard about Larry. Until today.
Life is hard. Harder for some. I'm shocked that he's gone, but I'm saddened at the fact that I've never looked back and thought about him or his circumstances. Did he have a wife and a family? I don't know. Was he sick or was his death sudden and unexpected? I don't know. Did he reconcile with his father before he died? I don't know. Did he ever confess Jesus as his personal Savior? I. don't. know.
Life is hard......and busy. I'm ashamed. I have spent a great deal of time building new relationships with people so that I can witness to them about the mercy God has shown me through his son, Jesus Christ, but what about the relationships of my past? Why don't we look up people from our past - who knew what we were really like - and re-invest in them? Could it be that we're embarassed to tell people who know what we've done in the past that we were wrong? I don't know.
Tonight I'm grieving the loss of a friend. Not the death of a friend, but the loss of a friend. Not the day he died......the day I quit caring about his circumstances.