EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve seen this before and suspect there might be some truth to this tale. It’s something that’s been floating around the Internet and e-mails for some time. I took the liberty of editing it a little and reposting it here. It fits well with a previous blog I posted on how we can be more proactive in the lives of others in order to prevent suicide.
One day when I was a freshman in high school I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle.
It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms, tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about 10 feet from him.
He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes; my heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said; “Hey thanks!”
There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.
He said he had gone to private school. I would never have hung out with a private school kid.
We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him; my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and joked, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to NC State. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for a business degree on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him about being a nerd and thought to myself how lucky I was NOT to be the one having to prepare a graduation speech.
Kyle looked great at graduation. He was one of those guys who really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, was I jealous! Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech, so I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those grateful looks and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began: “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach… but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give him or her. I am going to tell you a story.”
I looked at my friend in disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He told the audience how had planned to kill himself over the weekend when we first met. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.
“Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.” I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me, smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life. God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.