The service tonight was absolutely beautiful. It was all student led and they did a phenomenal job of remembering and honoring their classmate, brother, and friend. Several of his close friends and classmates delivered messages, memories, and prayers. He was also honored through songs recorded, sung, and played by the band as well as a slideshow. And most impressively and importantly, every single speech and song delivered, the message of hope through our Lord Jesus was made known clearly.
See, Jamarcus was a Jesus boy. He was a squirrelly rascal who would do just about anything to make someone laugh. But he was also a tender hearted soul who would do just about anything to make someone feel loved. And there's where the hope and peace lies in this terrible time...we're still stuck down here, but Jamarcus is celebrating with His Savior. As one of the coaches said tonight, "while we were on our way to our church buildings Sunday morning, Jamarcus was being welcomed into the Church of Heaven by God Himself." And how beautiful is that...
This whole week has been hard. Just hard. I find myself crying in the weirdest times and being set off by something so random. I have cried a lot. Seeing all of those kids--my kids--hurting tonight was absolutely heart wrenching. Death is a difficult time for any one to walk through. But when a young life is taken and other young people have to learn to walk through that, it's something else altogether.
I got two hugs tonight that melted me inside. One was from a young lady who came up to me on the field after the service was over and immediately hugged me. I was kind of surprised and then I felt her arms get tighter and her body start to shake as she cried. We shared some words and some tears, and that moment was so special. The second was one I sought out. It was from a young man who was one of my special ones--we had a great relationship and just clicked. I knew he was good friends with Jamarcus and I wanted to check in on him. I walked over and "pst pst"ed at him since he was visiting in a group. He looked up with a big smile, said "Mrs. Newby!", and immediately grabbed me up in a hug. And then didn't let go. We talked some, just stood there some, but he never let go. Those moments were so very special to me.
I have always hoped with my whole heart that I was able to convey to my students how much I love them and care about them. I have always prayed and hoped to be a strength, a guide, a mentor for them. Those two hugs tonight (on top of the many others I received) assured my heart that God had placed me where He needed me.
Death is hardest on the living. But as we just celebrated this past Sunday, the day Jamarcus left this earth, our hope doesn't end with death. Jesus walked out of that tomb and he brought with him freedom, hope, grace, and life. He left death behind--the fear of it, the sting of it, the finality of it. And that is such a beautiful truth to dwell on, especially in times like these.
It's not supposed to be this way. But that's why this world is not our home--it is full of evil and despair and heartache. I pray the memories of Jamarcus...his infectious laugh, his irresistible grin, his constant pranks and jokes, his joy...I pray those stay fresh. I also pray that this terrible loss brings forth growth and change and salvation. That because of this young man's life and loss, other people make better choices, help other people, and seek Jesus.
Jamarcus, it was my honor, privilege, and absolute joy to teach you and to know you. I hope you understood the impressions you left on those you met--how loved you made people feel. Run, dance, fly, and ride with the angels, sweet boy. You are so, so loved and incredibly missed.
Love, Mrs. Newby
This song came on the radio as I got in my car to go to the service tonight. I just teared up at the gift my Jesus had given me. Cry out to Jesus...
"To everyone who's lost someone they loved, long before it was their time..."