Last Monday was President’s Day. I actually almost forgot. The schools around here weren’t closed, and neither was the ironworks plant. Except for not getting any mail, it seemed like business as usual. Only, it wasn’t.
Late in the day, as I started supper, I suddenly remembered. It hit me like a brick. You see, I don’t know if a President’s Day can pass without me thinking of him. After all, every time we drive through Harrison, on the way to visit my BIL or go up to the Fayetteville area, I see the sign for “SKD Motors” and everything comes back in a surging wave. Even little things stir up old memories: Great Danes, four wheelers, sand dunes. But President’s Day especially is when it all comes back in force.
How long ago is it now? I can’t even remember. I know I was fifteen. Seth was barely sixteen. We’d grown up together really. Lived in the same neighborhood, were in the same class in school, even went to the same church. Our moms went to Bible study together. Driving through the neighborhood, we’d see his mom frequently, walking their enormous, loping Great Dane. Over the past several years we’d lost touch. We’d gone to different schools and even moved churches, but I still saw him from time-to-time, and barely a day went by when we didn’t see his mom walking their dog.
And then came President’s Day. For me, it seemed like any other day. We were homeschooling at the time, and my mom probably made us do a little bit of school before we were released. We might even have gone to a movie. Really, though, I don’t remember.
It wasn’t until the next morning when I opened up the newspaper that that particular President’s Day suddenly became burned in my memory. There, staring at me, was a picture of smiling Seth…and an obituary.
I soon found out that it had been an ATV accident. Seth and his family had been camping at the dunes in California for President’s Day weekend. They were packing up to leave when Seth had asked his dad if he could go for one more run. One run was all it took. He collided with a dune buggy or something, suffering severe head injuries. He’d died in his brother’s arms before the paramedics could even get there.
I don’t remember every detail of how I reacted, just snippets of emotions. Death really had never touched my life. Great-grandmother’s had died when I was little, but I didn’t remember much. The worst loss I’d experienced up until that point had been our beloved dog. But suddenly, death was very real and very cold. And, worse, it had touched someone so young.
I dealt with my grief quietly, privately. I didn’t even go to Seth’s funeral, too afraid to even face it. But I cried for him. And I mourned with a heavy heart.
Somehow, through it all, I learned that everyone’s life is in God’s hands, and that we don’t know when our time on earth will be done. All we can do is wholeheartedly work at the tasks God has given us for now.
Seth died knowing our Loving Savior, and I have no doubt where he is today. Seth’s passing proved to be more influential for Christ than his life, and many of the friend’s we had grown up with turned to Christ because of it. Even today, I still see Seth’s life at work. All over my hometown, you’ll see bumper stickers bearing the initials “SKD”. And people still talk about him.
Sadly, Seth was not the last of the kids I grew up with to pass young. Many of them, unfortunately, did not know the Lord as Seth did. Every time President’s Day comes around, I think of this. I think of how fleeting life is. I think of all the people who don’t know Him, and my heart is burdened and renewed to seek and save the lost.
Lord, may I be as much a testament and an shining light pointing to You in life as Seth was in death.
251. Knowing that God has a plan and a purpose for my life.
252. For the opportunity to be used of God to bring others to Him.
253. For the people God has placed in my life who don’t know Him, but whom He’s called me to reach.
254. Being able to leave my burdens and grief at the feet of a loving, merciful Savior.
255. For music that speaks and ministers to my heart when I need it most.
256. For good times with good friends.
257. For a sunny, Sunday afternoon drive exploring with my husband.
258. For getting to feel little kicks in my belly for the first time!
259. For all the babies due to arrive this spring, summer, and fall!
260. For a life full of memories and events that God has used to shape my life.