The lives of children are filled with “Goodbyes” from their parents—first day of school, first vacation without them, leaving for college, marriage, relocation, and too many times…death—and often those departures ignite emotions ranging from anxiety to dismay. I recall the anguish that I experienced when my son entered his first day of kindergarten—it was the first time that Linda and I had released him into the hands of total strangers. Thank God he returned unscathed, and is now an Advanced Placement sophomore in high school; however, life has not been so charitable to others.
I recall an episode of Oprah that Linda and I watched nearly 20 years ago. She interviewed the mother of a beautiful elementary school student, whose daughter had been lured into the automobile of the porter who worked at the apartment complex where they lived. He simply offered to take her to school, and little 11 years old Sophia had no concept of the notion of evil. Therefore, she hopped in the car, expecting to be dropped off a few miles from home, but to her horror he kept driving until he was 200 miles away. He dragged her into the woods; he raped her; he poured acid on her face; and then he left her for dead.
To the dismay of Linda, I leaped from the sofa we were sharing and growled these words, “I could kill him!” It was the first time in my life that I had experienced the desire to murder. I do not recall what happened to Sophia’s assailant, but I have enough faith in God’s Word that guarantees that he reaped (or will reap) the calamity that he brought upon her and her family.
My son and I repeat this little ritual every night before I pray over him and bid him a great night’s sleep. We ask each other three questions: What is the most exciting thing that happened to you today; how much do you love me; and what are you going to do with God’s tremendous blessings?
Williams and many more men and women like him throw caution to the wind everyday in order to rescue those whose lives are in peril. It must be a human impulse to save the life of another, because I’ve heard heroic men and women, who have placed their own lives at risk to come to the rescue of others, say that they didn’t even think about it.
Many people were dismayed, as I was, to hear of Phylicia’s apparent murder. However, notwithstanding that this beautiful young lady was an honors student who was due to graduate one year early to enter college and was probably as close to a perfect daughter as a parent could have, her death will go largely unnoticed in the cruel world that we live. In an age when too many children are spending 12 years in school and graduating not knowing how to respect their elders; or use the common courtesies of a civil society—please, excuse me, thank you; or work diligently for a sense of achievement, one of our promising leaders was cut down too soon.
In a perfect world, Phylicia would be preparing to enter Towson State University this fall; however, unfortunately her parents are preparing for her memorial. I wrote earlier that life is filled with goodbyes, and Phylicia’s parents would have never believed that they would be saying their final farewells to her so soon; neither did I.
...to be continued