“My times are in thy hand…”Psalm 31:15
By Pastor Rasheed Baaith
The suicide of Bryce Gowdy shows us a number of things, none of which are good.
First it shows us in the most glaring way that fear, hopelessness, and dread can completely dominate a person’s mind and concentration to a point of utter dominance. It shows us that when this trio of passions is in control, we do things we have never done before. It demonstrated too clearly that age is not a consideration at such a time. Young, old, boy or girl, man or woman. We all are at risk to fall into that particular darkness.
Here is what we need to ask ourselves, especially those of us in ministry: why are we not seeing those in our community who are so vulnerable and so desperate? Why do so many of our churches have ministries that decorate programs but not serve people? How can someone who got so much attention not be given any help for what he really needed attention for? It is not enough to tell someone they need some help. We need to give someone a name with a phone number and tell them to use as a reference. We need to know where someone can go and what resources are available to be utilized in such a crisis.
I cannot believe no coach knew of the emotional demons tormenting Bryce. Or that no coach recognized the mental anguish that filled him most of the time while walking those hall. And it was evident from the Facebook video his mother posted that she too needed help. She was unable to give her son what he so desperately sought from her: which was emotional engagement.
Far too many of us do not get involve with our children emotionally. What do I mean by that? I mean sitting down with them or riding with them or walking with them and really listening to them. Not just to their voices but the tenor of their voice, the color of what they say and how they say it. What do their eyes say and what does the nonverbal communication say? I’m not a therapist but all of that seems to mean something to me.
Anyone dealing with our children needs to understand the lives of our children are more than the ability to catch a ball or jump high or run fast. There is a completeness required of growing our children that is more than sports focused. More than the time on the game clock or the length of a practice.
Yet here is perhaps an even more critical factor. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of children like Bryce in our community who are not being helped with anything more than the development of their athletic skills. Despite signs of emotional stress and life turbulence. I cannot help but wonder how is it that some adult at Deerfield High School did not know Bryce and his family were homeless?
Finally, there is this. It is said that one of the triggers for Bryce doing what he did was his growing concern for how well his family would do with him being gone to Atlanta. He loved his family so deeply and was so concerned for them that the weight of that concern was weighing him down. Sinking him into a place he could not lift himself out of. And no one was there to lift him with any kind o