I had an unusual weekend. Heck, it wasn't just unusual, it was unique. Completely. Ohhhh, and it would take too long to tell about it and I'm not sure I should, so I won't.
Okay, so I will. Sort of. Skipping the details.
I helped take the Boy Scouts on a fifty mile bike ride. (They made it, which is really impressive for twelve and thirteen-year-olds on mountain bikes.) Along the way, we were asked to help in the search for a missing person. And then we found her.
Yeah, I left out most of the story.
I'm responsible, at least partly, for the spiritual education of those boys. Two weeks ago, I taught them a lesson in church about showing respect for women and girls. I didn't mince words. I told them the girls they knew at school were more likely than them to deal with eating disorders and depression and that they could have a huge impact for positive or negative on those girls. I even told them girls were more likely to attempt suicide. That wasn't the whole lesson, but it was a big part of it.
On Saturday, the lesson continued. The young woman we found had tried to kill herself. She was injured, but alive and conscious. And I use "we" loosely, because I never saw her and only two of the boys did. The rest of us were half a mile up the road.
A couple of the young men were a little traumatized by the encounter. Had the injury been an accident, it likely would have been easier to process. Yesterday at church, we talked about it with them.
I didn't lead the discussion. (I don't think anyone in that group, boys or adults, knows my history in that regard. This blog is available for anyone to read, but I don't regularly send people here.) It was led by the man in our group who found the woman and talked with her until the ambulance arrived. And he did a good job. He emphasized the fact that no matter how worthless you feel, people still love and care about you.
The adult leader of the young women's group also joined us. Her day job is helping girls who have eating disorders and depression. She told them again just how big an impact they can have on their peers. She's never experienced depression herself, but she gave an excellent description of what it's like.
I told the boys that depression is a disease that people can recover from. I said the woman we'd helped could go on to live a long, happy life.
And if I could, I'd say the same thing to her.
So it was kind of an amazing, emotional weekend for me. I don't know what the scouts got out of it and I probably never will. I can't give them experiences like this on purpose or know what they'll mean in the long run. I'm only partly responsible for their education.