It's Father's Day morning, 2009, and he rises early, happy, eager to spend the day with his three kids. His oldest son, now a young adult, is asleep on the couch downstairs; he spent the night just so he could attend church with his Dad.
The man goes downstairs to wake his son...seconds later he feels the shattering of his heart, instead. His firstborn, his namesake, is lying before him, lifeless.
Fast forward a few months...months filled with tears, with trying to piece together those zillion heart fragments, with a mind full of "what-if"s and "if-only"s and "why?"s: The dying economy has no sympathy for a man in mourning - he is informed his job is being dissolved - he can take a "package" or apply for another position within the company.
His head spins - he isn't sure what to do. He has worked for this company his entire adult life, had expected to work for them until he retired. But the new position would take him farther away from his two children still hurting from the loss of their big brother.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
He remembers something. A little dream that has flitted back and forth through his consciousness for several years. He thinks of his son's battle with drugs, of other kids he knows who have died and of the ones who are still fighting for their lives against the seduction of those pills. He wants to make a difference. He wants to help. If he can do something to save even one kid's life, it would mean his son didn't die in vain.
Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.
And that's the story of my friend Randy's journey ....steps filled with heartbreak that he followed with faith off of a ledge, leaving behind the familiar, the comfortable... to a new job at Youth Reach, a nonprofit organization determined to help youth and young adults who are far along on their own self-destructive journeys. He realizes there's a good chance he'll get hurt again - he'll care about kids who might be beyond his help - but he feels it's worth the risk, worth the pain, if along the way he helps another.
"The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose." - William Cowper
One of the toughest things for Randy is having to swallow his pride and ask for donations; up until now he's been on the "giving" side and the "taking" side doesn't quite fit yet. I hope some of you will help him feel more comfortable in his new role - and help him save lives - by considering a donation to Youth Reach.