I've encountered my first situation while abroad where I am lost and don't know what to do, and it is a horrible feeling.
This morning I woke up, made my cup of coffee, turned on my computer and logged on facebook to learn that a member of the SMC community died unexpectedly yesterday... not exactly the best way to start my morning. In the moment when I figured out what was going on, I had absolutely no idea how to react. What happened? Who was it? Do I know them? Have I seen them before? How is the campus community handling the situation? All valid questions that streamed through my mind, but not acknowledging the heart of the matter. A person, only 18 years old, is gone. This person chose to take their life for whatever reason, and it is a tragedy.
Going away to college can be one of the toughest experiences if it doesn't go as you want it to. It's scary leaving home, venturing into the world and discovering who you really are. Coming out the other side four years later is a feat, but hopefully you are better for it. I chose SMC because of the campus and the community that is so clearly bonded through the common values of the students and faculty. Stepping over the threshold into this strong, coherent community my first year was tough, but once I found my niche it was easy to call St. Mikes my home. I didn't know the individual who took his life yesterday, but he was a part of the St. Michael's family. Now our family is little bit broken; there is a piece missing preventing us from becoming whole again. It is going to take time for the students, the faculty, and the community as a whole to come back from this tragedy and heal. We will all be left with a scar to remind us of how life should never be taken for granted.
I'm sad today because I can't be with my SMC family on a day when we all so badly need the company of one another. Being so far away is difficult, but I do wish the best to the all of SMC during this time of mourning and healing. I will be there in spirit at the prayer service tonight, and I have faith that the church will be overflowing with students, faculty, and staff.
Remember that a smile, a 'good morning', or some kind words can turn someone's day around. So be kind and love often!