Reaching the Unreached

28 Jul

Saturday evening I went to an event held in a tent sponsored by a country church. How could I tell it was a country church? There were wide skies and green fields all around and farm stands, orchards and dairy and beef farms were nearby. I went to this event as the advertised speaker was Craig Scott who seems famous, not for being who he is, but rather for where he was on April 20, 1999. He was a survivor of the Columbine High School mass shooting, but his sister was not.

Rachel Joy Scott was the first fatality of that tragic event. She was a thoughtful and sensitive Christian young lady. On the morning of the shooting she was doodling in her journal as she was often prone to do and after class she was compelled to share her artwork with her teacher. While observing the sketch, the teacher commented on its amazing detail and imagery. There were deeply sad eyes angled at the top of the page and from the eyes drifted 13 tears falling on to a flower at the bottom of the page. The drawing was rather prophetic. It would be later that same day that 12 students and one faculty member would be gunned down during what otherwise would have been a regular old school day in spring.

Thirteen. Victims.

Craig Scott, in rather riveting fashion, quoted from his sister’s journals, kept by her for years of her adolescent life and found in the aftermath by her family. He joked about the “little brother reading his big sister’s diaries” and then spoke solemnly of how on that fateful day he and Rachel were bickering on their way to school and his last gestures that morning were to call her names and slam the car door before her as he sprinted into the building without her.

Miraculously over time, many of Rachel’s words gave her brother strength to fight the anger and despair he felt after her passing and to move toward courage and poise to face audiences all over the nation to teach lessons on his sister’s favorite concept–COMPASSION. His original emotional state was to hurt people in order to erase his own hurt. Time and Rachel’s words and of course, God’s transformative ways, taught him otherwise. He shared that forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free and finding out the prisoner is you. He has risen above the bitter feelings to a better place in time and takes his message on the road. Rachel had apparently and in due time, reached her unreachable brother.

“I want to be used to reach the unreached.”

If you look hard enough you will always find a light.

“There is power in forgiveness.”

“COMPASSION– sharing it may just cause a chain reaction”

I do not propose that each quote is a verbatim representation of Rachel Joy Scott’s writings, but they are close enough and they speak of the depth of her seventeen year old heart, mind and soul.

Her brother spoke of his mission to keep her memory alive while speaking her words of love and kindness as often as he is able in schools and churches all over the nation. Her journals, while filled with painful ruminations that are often typical for a teenage girl, also shared many messages of hope. She believed that just as bad feelings and negativity can widely be spread, so can love and compassion. She wrote more than once that she wanted to make a difference in the world.

For those of us who heard her brother’s message on Saturday, she has… made a difference!

2 Responses to “Reaching the Unreached”

  1. dar1124 July 28, 2021 at 11:37 am #

    Thanks, Sue!

  2. Sue Broska July 28, 2021 at 10:45 am #

    Very touching and so true. Thanks Denise!

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