I see you: a tribute to Avery White

Caleb Jones, Columnist

Jan. 31 was a bright day on Samford’s campus, but inside students’ hearts, storms raged fierce as they mourned the loss of a fellow student. On this beautiful afternoon the doors of Reid Chapel opened into an emotional, somber room filled with hurting family members, friends, classmates and teachers.

I sat in the last pew of the chapel observing a mixture of Scripture reading, prayers being sent up and tears falling down. I was somewhat in shock that he was gone. Everything was put in perspective on this afternoon.

His memorial service lasted 45 minutes, but the pain of his loss will carry on. For less than an hour Samford slowed down, and students put aside internships, schoolwork and whatever else usually occupies their time to mourn the loss of a fellow Bulldog. Then, after the final prayer, everyone tried to wipe the tears away as they prepared to jump back into life.

As I watched people begin to file out of the chapel, I realized we were about to leave this intimate moment of mourning. People were going to go back to their daily routines and eventually life would go back to normal for most people.

But what if it didn’t? What if this loss finally woke people up and made us realize the most important things in life?

Love God. Love others. Recognize how our interactions with people can greatly impact them.

I recently heard Louie Giglio preach about using the time the Lord has given us wisely. He said we so easily get caught up with the next thing that we lose sight of the bigger things God has called us to.

I’m not saying internships, grades and Step Sing aren’t important, because we all know Sweepstakes and graduation are both important.

I am saying this: If we recognized the eternal impact we can have with our lives, our days would look drastically different.

A desire for status, reputation or simple daily luxuries would give way to a desire for people to feel loved and accepted. I think our “hellos” would even be different. We have probably all thought about this a time or two, but how many times in a day do we say, “Hey boss, how’s life?” expecting everyone to respond, “great,” “well” or “just fine” and keep moving on with our days? We don’t really care about how the person’s day is, we just don’t want to seem so caught up in our life that we are too busy to say “hi.” In reality, we don’t really want this person to give us a genuine answer.

I think that we can fall into a trap where we have a ton of “hello” relationships with people and very few “how’s life” relationships with people.

Let’s change that. Today we have an opportunity to shift culture. Today can be the day that the students of Samford and people all across the world experience the genuine love of Christ. Today has the potential to be the day that the worthless feel cared for and the friendless no longer feel alone.

It starts with us recognizing the glorious truth that Christ came out of heaven for you and me! He lived a perfect life and died on a cross so that He could have a relationship with us. That is love, and it is available to all of us who believe. His love never fails, never leaves and never ends — who doesn’t want that?

Once we are walking in the truth that every day we wake up is another day that we are valued and cherished by the Creator of the universe, we can share this genuine love with others. If we slowed down and thought about the people in our lives, or simply looked around us, we could probably quickly realize there are so many hurting people in our lives. If we live each day with an eternal mindset then we will pour out love to the hurting.

So many people go through life asking the questions “Do people even see me? Do they even care about me?” Let today be the day that those questions get answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

We are loved by and serve a big God who is capable of big things. In fact, He is capable of “immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).

In the wake of heartache, my prayer is that life doesn’t simply return to normal. Instead lives are changed by the radical love of Jesus Christ.

Let’s love others with this on the forefront of our minds. Love others expecting that the Lord will reveal Himself to them, and they will get to experience the peace, joy and freedom that comes from a relationship with Jesus.

Today, love overwhelms despair.


Jones is a junior journalism and mass communication major and an intern at The Alabama Baptist.


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