When Pain Cracks My Bubble

     I experienced pain this summer. Pain beyond what I have experienced before. A pain that shattered my whole world.
     My first year of Bible school has had it's ups and downs. I have enjoyed making new friends, learning more about the Bible and the truths God has spoken. I have benefited from so many people speaking into my life. This is something that I am sure that most (if not all) of my classmates could say the same thing about their experience here. However, there is something about my Bible school experience that is unique. Something, that I like to call the "bubble".
     The "bubble" is incredible. I live in one building, with 200 other people, (married couples, single students of all ages, young kids, grandparents, staff and students). Outside of that building there is a small campus, with more housing that is filled with more students and staff. Everyone knows everyone, everyone encourages, prays for and lives life with everyone. It is impossible to not know someone. If it is possible to not know someone, it is impossible to not know someone who knows that someone you don't know (have fun following that). Our lives all happen in this bubble. Which means, when something happens to anyone, everyone is impacted.
     Can you honestly think of a time in your life, where something happened, and everyone you interact with was personally impacted in some way? Besides major events like 9/11, I can't. Until now...
     My first semester I remember watching and praying as we watched one of my classmates crumble as his dad struggled to hold onto life, and ultimately passed away. We all hurt for him and with him. It brought many of us together, into a tight bond. Little did I know that was just the beginning of the hurt we would all go through.
     Two months ago I got the news that one of my classmates had died. My heart instantly sank into my stomach. Not only was Levi one of my friends, but he was best friends with my roommate, dorm brother to my best friend, roommates with one of my dearest guy friends, and son of my mentor/college mom. My heart broke, but not just for me and the loss of my friend, but for the loss of the people who were close to me. For my roomie, as this is the second close guy friend she has lost in a year and a half. For my friend, as he lost  his best friends. But most of all, for the woman who has spent hours pouring love into my life, who now has to figure out how to live life with the loss of her baby boy.
     I was asked by his mom to speak at his memorial service. It was one of the highest honors, and yet one of the hardest things I have ever done. As the day came around I remember crying out to God for the strength to be able to speak encouragement to those who loved Levi, and to be able to just honor the memory of Levi without bawling my eyes out in front of everyone. As I stood up to speak, I looked around and recognized so many faces. I saw so many people who were a part of my bubble. I looked into his parents and siblings eyes, and had to fight back the urge to collapse on the floor in a puddle. I looked, and saw that my bubble had been popped. Thankfully, God gave me the strength to say what I felt lead to share.
     After I finished speaking, I sat back down in my seat, and I completely fell apart. It all hit, and it all hit hard. I was beyond thankful that I was sitting next to my dear friend Sean, who fell apart with me. One other person got up to share after I finished, and then we all stood to sing a song. We sang the song "Great Are You Lord". To this day, I hear that song and I can't help but cry. I remember standing there, crying, struggling to even breath while I felt a pain deep to the bone. Meanwhile, I listened to the words of the song. "It's your breath, in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to you only." I realized i couldn't... I prayed from my heart, "Lord, it is your breath in my lungs, but I don't even have the strength to pour out praise to you with this breath."
     The one really cool thing about this pain is the bubble. I realized that as I was hurting, crying and praying, everyone who I have shared this bubble with was also hurting, crying and praying. As I look around at all the people who I am close with right now, 90% of them are going through pain, whether for their loss or seeing the pain of those around them, We are all hurting and we are all supporting each other. We are all banding together to surround his family in prayers, to support them how we can, and to love them.
     This fall, as many of us have returned to school, a piece of all of our hearts will be missing. And I know that have been shed and the tears shed now, will not be the only tears shed for our friend. Many more will be shed, many more prayers will be lifted up, and the pain will always remain. I am just thankful that our bubble can face it together.
     My bubble has been cracked, but it is still my bubble.

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