I heard the news. I watched the television reports. I scrolled Facebook.
Folks are hurting. In Connecticut and all over. Facebook folks are talking about broken hearts and loving their own children and blaming the NRA and the lack of prayer in schools and such as that. Presidents are shedding tears.
For the past two weeks, I’ve written about children. This week, I thought I’d give that topic a rest. Then last Friday happened.
Walter. He is now a dad himself. But years ago, he was one of my favorite of my son’s basketball teammates. I was able to do some coaching of that kid back then. Walter has a personality and charisma that would likely put to shame those qualities of any charming person you may know. I was an assistant coach for their team when he and my son were in their early teens.
There was another kid on the team. That kid’s mother was beautiful. She was tall, well-dressed with perfectly tanned skin and with striking qualities that would make any man desire her company. She was at every practice and game that summer. One day at practice, as the kids were hustling at high speed to complete layup and fast-break drills, the beautiful mom walked into the gym to watch her son practice. I must have been watching the woman enter and my eyes must have followed her until she found a good spot to watch. Walter said something to me about that entrance. As the kid was huffing and puffing and sweating and returning to the area near where I stood, he ran up to me. He looked at me with those big brown engaging eyes and his wide and endearing smile.
“Hey, Mr. Moon.. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” he playfully asked.
Young Walter had a way with words back then.
I read quite a few Facebook posts the night of the Connecticut shootings. They all seemed to be natural and normal ones. They were mostly about feeling and sharing the pain and the sorrow and such as that. A few were untimely and self-serving comments from those with political and social agendas, but heart-felt nonetheless.
There was one unique post. The post was simple and sweet. It was true and real. It reflected the man and the parent the kid has become. It shared the kid’s eyes and smile and heart. And if I had been a Connecticut parent when I read those five simple words from a man and dad like him, I would have fallen into a heap of confused emotion followed by a certain reassurance of God and mankind. It came from a kid who still has a way with words.
The words were Walter’s.
Five simple ones.
“Rest in peace, beautiful angels.”