My Last Memory of Al
It was a Saturday morning after Teen Bible School, one the busiest weeks of the year at our church, when I received a phone call that shook me to my core. One of the bus workers from my church had seen the news, and thought that one of the teens from our church was dead. My thoughts began to race, as I asked myself if this could really be true. Teenagers don’t die, do they? As I got into my brother-in-law’s car to drive to Al’s house, I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that someone so young had died.
Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting Al would remember him. Al was a teenager who loved to make jokes, and make people laugh. He loved to come up behind you and tap you on the shoulder, and stand on the opposite side. When you turned to see who had tapped you, Al would be standing there smiling. He would whistle at random times and then act like nothing happened, so that everyone would look around. He was fun to have in my teen Sunday school class. He would always make a joke or two and make everyone laugh. Al would tease anybody, even if they were bigger than he was (most people were bigger than Al). I remember Al got himself in trouble a couple of times because he teased the wrong person.
The last time that I saw Al was at church on Monday night, during Teen Bible School. Every summer we have Teen Bible School, where our teens learn verses, play games, eat, and at the end of the evening we have a preaching service. Al started attending TBS as soon as he became a teenager, and it was at TBS that he would spend his last night on earth. I remember Al tapping me on the shoulder that night, and I remember asking him how many verses he had learned. I remember joking with him that night as we played the games, and as we ate. That would be the last time I would get to talk to Al. After we ate there was a preaching service, and we both went home.
Al’s death began a work in my heart for teens and the people around me. I have learned to say “I love you” to the people around me much more often. I can’t remember if I ever told Al personally that I loved him. I had expressed love to my teens as a group, but I did not work as hard as I should have to make each individual teen feel loved. Al’s death also reminded me that no one is promised tomorrow. What if the words you said to someone around you today were the last words that you ever said to that person? Have you expressed your love to those that you care about around you? Make things right with those around you and endeavor to keep things right. Learn to say “I’m sorry.” Treat each day as the last time you will ever see that person. Living in such a way will allow you to live life with far less regrets, and will help you appreciate each little moment that God has given you with those that you love.