A letter to the girl who, looking back, started it all.
Andrea still says I remind her of you. Bethanee has said the same thing, and has told me over and over how well we would have gotten along, had I been fortunate enough to meet you. You have the most beautiful family, Rachel, and I miss you along with them everyday.
You have been gone for thirteen years now, but its only been five years since I first heard the story of how you left us. It spawned a fear in me that, for a long time, I wasn’t sure I could recover from. The cruelty of the world, the unfairness of it, just baffled me. But even in the midst of the pain and fear and confusion, you gave me so much light and hope. I tried all the time to hold on to that. I still try.
Its a little surreal to be writing this, honestly. So much has changed in the years since I first found out about you, in high school. I have lost people - beautiful people whom I loved very much. I have been bitter and anxious and ungrateful. Funny, I never thought of you as even being able to experience such negative emotions. But after God used cancer to bring my friend Jonathan home, I realized that people are only people. He reminded me so much of you. But we all have our bad days, and each of us experience heartache. It is the downfall of human nature. But depending on our response, it can also be our glory. When we begin to understand what we were created for, the fear and the trials no longer seem so consuming.
You chose to respond with love, and thanksgiving, even as you wrote in your journal the year before that you sensed it would not be long. You chose to accept the cup you were given and say “thank you, Lord.” That is the ultimate act of worship, I think. I’m not sure there is really any magic involved. There’s just us, and our response.
Columbine was so long ago, now. And even though I have moved on from the fear and gone through the process of grieving, it has surely left a mark on my life. I’m in college, now, getting ready to graduate next year with a degree in counseling. I want to be with people and love them the way you loved them. You loved like Jesus, and it changed me. You, as a seventeen year old girl, knew what this life was about. You spelled it out in your name, and you lived it every moment of your life, even to the end. You understood something at seventeen that many people never will: this life is about thankfulness; it is about joy and serving others, and it is about being in communion with the Creator.
I am so very thankful for you, Rachel. I’m thankful for the chance to know what a beautiful human being you were, through the willingness of your family to tell the story. I finally saw their presentation; I went back to my old high school, a place that once spawned fear in me. But that day was cause for celebration. I feel as though I have come full circle. On the other hand, this could simply be the tip of an even greater movement in my life. I don’t want to stop now.
It began with fear, and has reached a point of healing and thankfulness. Thank you for showing me the way.
I will never forget. I will tell the story of your life, and of your death. I will tell of the chain reaction. I promise, I will fully live out the heart story that has become ours.
I love you endlessly.
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- paperboxthots said: Did you go to Columbine High?
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