I pray this column serves as a warning. “Have fun but be careful.” The consequences of irresponsible behavior can be tragic. What you are about to read is a true story. The poem was written by Rev. Richard Barclay for a funeral service in honor of a young man named David.
When you hear the crack of bat and ball,
or hear the umpire bellow out his call of “safe” or “out”
When you see a ball in lofted flight, or players tangled in the night
as runner slides and baseman tags — think of me.
It was supposed to be a great day. Four baseball players returning from church camp to play in an all-star game. One of them, sixteen-year-old David was sitting in the back seat listening to the radio and laughing with friends. David’s mother was waiting at the ball field with his uniform.
From out of nowhere, a car ran a stop sign and rammed into the side of the players’ car. The driver was charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving. Three of the boys sustained injuries but David died on the way to the hospital.
When class bells ring and hallways crowd with endless chatter
soft and loud of ordered chaos —
When wanton mischief calls and laughter causes sides to split
and tears to fall as mirthful mouths grow wide in glee — think of me.
David was the son of our church organist and often played with my daughter during choir practice. He was active in our youth group and often was the one asking tough questions about God. He was inquisitive but never offended. David had a knack for making friends.
When music rocks and speakers boom compelling all within the room
to echo lyrics that rap the soul — think of me.
David was a typical teenager who played his music too loud and spent too much time hanging out with friends. In other words, David was normal. That’s what makes his death so tragic. David should not have died. Of course, we all know life isn’t fair and tragedies happen. But why David?
When hands are held and friends embrace with words of comfort,
love and grace to shoulder sorrow and share in joys — think of me.
“When hands are held and friends embrace with words of comfort, love and grace to shoulder sorrow and share in joys – think of me.” Is this the answer we need?
- Holding hands – is our way of pulling together and being a community.
- Embrace with words of comfort – the constant reassurance of knowing you are loved.
- Love and grace to shoulder sorrow and share in joys – others to share your burdens.
- Think of me. We don’t seek to forget but honor the memories and learn from mistakes.
- God provided comfort when the community surrounded David’s family.
- There was comfort when two churches opened their doors to accommodate the large crowd of mourners. One organized and hosted the funeral. Another prepared food.
- There was comfort when fellow teachers stood by David’s mother and helped her handle the necessary tasks of grieving.
- There was comfort when David’s teammates came in uniform to pay their respect and carry his coffin to a final resting-place.