Friday, September 2, 2011

At a Loss

I saw him almost every weekend. The young man usually sat a row or two behind Ed and me at church. He took up offerings almost every week and he took care of the offering envelopes. Sometimes he would read the Scripture reading before the sermon, if it was a short one. When our pastor had to be out of town, and I spoke at church a few weeks ago, he read the Scripture reading. He was single and he was painfully shy and socially awkward. When we talked to him, he would duck his head, briefly maintain eye contact and haltingly answer whatever question we asked. He did not initiate the conversation. Some time ago, he gave me and other members at church notes he had written. I could tell they were supposed to be encouraging, but they didn't make sense. There were words all right, but they weren't poetry or prose. They just didn't make sense. It made me wonder if my friend suffered from some form of autism. Then a couple of weeks ago, he wasn't at church. I didn't notice. Then the next week he wasn't at church, and then I did notice. It wasn't like him to miss church, certainly not two weeks in a row. I asked about him, but no one seemed to know why he wasn't there. Maybe he was visiting his family, but why didn't he let someone know, we questioned. Now we know why. He took his own life. I'm at a loss.

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