Story of the Saguaro

Yesterday was the funeral for someone who was close to me, and my family. His death, Leroy VanVerth was his name, came as a complete shock and utter tragedy.

It really did come out of left field. No one, I think who knew him, could have ever predicted that this was in fact the way he would go.

Last Sunday, 8/31/08, he was stabbed to death for his car.

Leroy was a great man, a kind and compassionate person. He was one of the few religious leaders I've met in my life that I could honestly say I respected. To pardon the pun, he truly practiced what he preached.

And in the days since this tragedy, I've done a lot of soul searching. A lot of looking for some justifiable feeling I could have towards this situation, and to be quite honest...I just can't find any.

There are times right now when I feel emotionally void. There are times when that sore just re-opens, and I want to cry. I want to be so angry about this, and I just can't. I can't, because I know in my heart Pastor VanVerth wouldn't have, either.

But I'm searching for some kind of harmony. Some sort of clarity, some sort of reasoning that could make me understand why something like this could happen.

How a man could survive, like he did, the depression, the dust bowl, social upheaval, and actually serve in several wars. How he could give comfort to dying men on foreign soils, with bombs falling and bullets flying everywhere. How a person can see the darkest depths of humanity, things that would prove to most others that God wasn't on the battlefield, and still serve what he believed in so diligently.

How he could survive all of this and die at the hands of some person with a knife over a car.

And...I just can't.

But what gives me hope, and gives me comfort is the following: He got to spend his final moments with the person whom he loved most on this earth. The girl he married in the 1940's, his high school sweetheart.

To tell her he loved her one last time.

Now I find myself trying to find some sort of solace. Sleep doesn't come, and I find myself still shaking at the sight of him in a coffin, and how that memory won't ever leave me.

And how unfair it is that when they lay a person you love in a coffin, they never ever resemble the person you once knew, and how unfair of a representation that is of them. And that no one deserves that to be their final image on this earth.

But most importantly, I pray that one day humanity won't resort to these lows. That one day murder, rape and broken hearts won't be such a pivotal portion of ones time spent here.

That one day we can stop the violence just long enough to enjoy a sunset and sunrise in the same sentence. That we won't have to worry about sheltering our children, or hurt this much when we realize we can't.

It might be impossible, but if I really gave up on that hope, I'm not sure if I'd have anything left to believe in.

Go out and hug someone.
Tell them you love 'em.
Call someone you haven't spoken to in a while and just talk.
Or shoot an email or text.
Why not write a letter or postcard?
Make a new friend.
Greet a stranger.
Strengthen bonds with old friends.
See the sunrise and sunset.
Fall in love.
Live for something great.


If you ever fall into a situation like this, please know there are resources and people who care.

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