Yesterday, both my daughter and my wife informed me the girls would not be having softball practice today. I thought that was a little odd. The coach is pretty hardcore about practicing. Even if the coach used running during practice time to remind the team not to make so many errors, she rarely gives up a practice UNLESS the weather is working against her.
As I show up at the regular “no practice” pickup time, my youngest daughter comes out without her books or anything. She let me know the reason practice was cancelled. It turns out one of the fathers of a girl on the team had committed suicide over the weekend. I won’t say I took this hard, but it certainly does make one wonder what brings a person to this point. Prior to last Saturday’s game, I believe the dad had attended nearly every game. We had talked quite a bit while watching our girls play.
He genuinely had a good heart. At one of the games, he bought a packet of M&Ms. He shared a few with me. He usually stood behind the bleachers and leaned on them. I was usually sitting on the second row from the top. He would just talk about his softball exploits, or his time with his daughter, or whatever other random thing a middle aged dad might think to say. He was probably less odd than me….but this still left plenty of room for him to my left. I wasn’t the only one he talked to–he seemed to enjoy being social as he roamed the back of the bleachers talking to whoever would listen or had a thought to share.
Just last Saturday I was talking to the mother of the girl. During the games I attended, the parents interacted and seemed to get along. There did seem to be some distance, but I never was bold enough to ask the specifics. Last Saturday, the mother was talking about shopping for groceries. In context, it was appropriate to ask who she buys them for. (I believe the specific point was with bananas.) She said, “I only buy for myself and my daughter.” It was at this point I was certain they were divorced, and they played nicely for the sake of their daughter.
Last night, my daughter made both my wife and I promise we would never end our lives in such a sudden way. We assured her we would not. The mystery of why someone would end their life in such an immediate way puts me at quite a loss. Relationships are not always as smooth as you would like. Finances can also be a source of frustration. I have found that no matter how badly things may go the only consistent comfort comes from knowing God put you on this planet for a purpose. If you are still asking that question, then God still has a purpose to reveal to you. When hope dies, the heart often follows.