I haven’t been feeling very hopeful, lately. The submission/rejection dance has been quite discouraging. Though I try to find peace in the writing itself, I can’t ignore the yearning for validation that haunts me every time I sit at my computer. Saturday afternoon I was in the midst of a pretty big pity-party when I received an email informing me that one of my previous students from North Central College was stabbed while trying to break up a fight at a jazz club.
I hadn’t thought about this student in a while, but the moment I saw Shaun Wild’s name I remembered how much I enjoyed having him in my class. He always sat in the row of desks next to the window. Though many of the juniors and seniors in class didn’t believe they needed advanced composition, Shaun fully engaged in the writing process. His group had one of the best group projects in the class. Shaun had the same a positive affect on other students and faculty at North Central and was also highly regarded at the Naperville elementary school where he taught second grade. Saturday night the college held a prayer vigil to honor his memory.
As I tried to process this tragic loss, I thought about a picture I had taken years ago at Arlington National Cemetery before the cherry blossoms were in bloom. I noticed in the midst of a cluster of tombstones one small blooming tree. It reminded me that regardless of our circumstances, there is always hope.

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:21-23 NKJV

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