[Editor’s note: today’s post is an excerpt from ‘Jesus Loves You, This I Know’ by Craig Gross and Jason Harper. It was written by Jason. You can read part 1 here.]
I quickly jogged the fifty-yard distance from the car to the small sandy beach. I saw the towel spread out. It was right where Jerrod had taken meticulous care to assure there was not a single wrinkle. In the dark, but still able to see from my headlights, the small five inch square bump, the size of the wallet, protruded from under the towel. A quick feel to the right of the wallet revealed the keys to the family car.
I scurried back to the car where his dad waited. His dad did not want to walk down to meet me. He had seen the car in the corner of the gravel lot, and the realty that something was seriously wrong began to set in. He wanted to drive the car home. I didn’t tell him I had left the keys under the towel. The little I did know was that the police would want everything left alone.
Hopeful, I wanted to believe Jerrod had gone with friends and would come back to get his car. Backing out in the summer darkness, my worst fears were forming.
The next morning the sun rose and the forgotten was found. The family and I and two detectives arrived back at the lake. By now the underwater dive team from the Sheriff’s office had strewn crime tape around the end of the lake where the party was. The pontoon became a makeshift crime lab. Seeing our initial shock to the commotion, the detective pulled me to the side and explained that until they got some ideas or leads, it needed to be treated like a potential crime scene. What separated it from a typical case where a teen just didn’t come home was that the towel, wallet, and keys had been found. If Jerrod had decided to just take off he would have grabbed his wallet at the very least.
As the detective concluded, my eyesight drifted over his shoulder to the divers swimming in the water. They made a search team grid, first focusing on the area between the floating platform and the beach in line with the laid out towel. In the less than ten minutes, the divers floated a stationary buoy. It floated directly above the place where they had found something. The divers climbed out of the water and consulted the lead detective. He motioned to the Chaplain on site and the two walked to those of us waiting in the lake house.
Jerrod had been found.
The coroner explained later that Jerrod drowned due to a possible asthma attack while swimming. Nothing could have been done to save him—he was alone. Questions would be asked that I did not have answers to.
Why didn’t anyone see him?
Why was he alone?
Why was he overlooked?
How was he forgotten?
Days later the school he attended postponed classes for his funeral. One by one, student lined up to talk. Some offered condolences to the family as they wept. Others tried to say they were close to Jerrod. They weren’t. He was forgotten.
In my mind, I still play it back. The group must have quickly swum in to get some cake and celebrate. I understand. I just wished that someone would have remembered Jerrod.
In my mind, I can see him pacing back and forth trapped on this manmade island. As everyone dives in, Jerrod was forgotten.
We live in a world where many of us are in the same boat, or lack of one. We are trapped alone on a manmade island called Forgotten. Like a deserted island we are alone. We walk through like with nothing more than surface-deep conversations. I have had days where the depth of my human interaction was at a self-imposed drive-through. Others are banished or mandated into the slavery of solitude.
He had put his goggles back on. When I had to identify the body, they were still on. My mind flashes to his final moments. His thin, weak, non-muscular body pacing back and forth. Just a hundred feet away he saw everything he wanted. In the minutes before he would stand comforted by the King of Creation, Jerrod must have thought that the very thing that he came for escaped him. Forgotten.
Jesus loves the forgotten (Tweet This!).
That is what Jesus does. He brings purpose out of pain. He brings life through death. In his death, life was made available. Jerrod, in your death, you are remembered and no longer forgotten.
The Forgotten, they are still children of the King. Whatever got you to that place was remedied. We are hopeful. Maybe it is not abortion. Maybe it is not abandonment. Maybe it is not addiction. It doesn’t matter—forgotten is forgotten. Only Jesus can bring one back into Hope.
Jesus Loves The Forgotten – Jerrod’s Story (Part 2) by XXXchurch.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.