On Monday evening, our community experienced what I believe was a holy moment. We gathered together to mourn the loss of a six-year-old child, and to express our love and support to the family. The tragedy is incomprehensible as they have barely experienced healing from the death of another son, a nineteen-year-old, in a car accident almost two years ago.
When the news came through our church's email prayer chain, I stared in shock and disbelief at what I read. Chase had been with his parents and older sister at a home where his father, a contractor, visited with the new homeowners and wrapped up the final cleanup. Sunday had dawned with the crispness of autumn's imminence, but by mid-day, summer was back with blue skies and welcome sunshine. Chase's dad decided to drive into town to pick up some lunch for everyone while the new homeowner left to bring the moving truck with another load of belongings to their home.
Chase ran to the end of the driveway so he could wait for his dad's return and ride up the driveway with him. In the meantime, an empty box caught his attention and he climbed inside like six-year-old boys do. When the homeowner drove up the driveway, he ran over the box, thinking it was empty. Chase was killed instantly.
Our little town is reeling with shock and grief. At work on Monday, patients who came into our dental office, broke down and cried. There is no way to comprehend the whys and what ifs that surround such a tragedy and that formed into questions from those who came and went from the office that day.
A friend called to tell us a candlelight vigil was being planned for Monday evening on the road outside the family's home. Could I help by making a few strategic phone calls to let others know? The local radio station heard about the plan and broadcast the details, the post office and other businesses hung signs on their doors, and word of mouth spread the message up and down our valley.
More than 200 friends gathered outside Chase's home, holding flickering candles, standing in quiet reverence. "We love you," someone called out. "We're here for you." Messages of encouragement punctuated the silence. A local pastor prayed. Several told about memories of a special little boy who had won the hearts of everyone who knew him. We sang Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace, and I've Got Peace Like a River. Heavenly music. A holy moment in time where a community with much diversity came together to simply love a bereaved family. I will never forget the sweet spirit in that place.
Thank you for praying for Chase's family and friends who grieve.