pineconeclosedLodge Pole pines are beautiful trees that have pinecones that are tightly sealed. The seeds that grow these beautiful trees cannot grow within the cone and the cones will not open to let the seeds out….unless there is extreme heat that only comes in fire. When the forest fire comes, the cones pop open and release the seeds. The seeds love the carbon rich soil that fire leaves behind, and little Lodge Pole Pines start to grow almost immediately. Life from death…

Kevin Williams was 24 when he lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001.

I reflect on my most painful experiences when I think of his parents on that day.

God tells us to fear not, but he does not instruct us to grieve not. We can all remember the account of Jesus’ grief over the death of his friend Lazarus. I have seen grief run its course in my life and in many other lives. When I was 18, I was grieving and stopped dating, studying and only wanted to lift weights, eat and sleep for months. Yes I was in depression. I have seen grief turn a pleasant lady into an often rude, angry woman. I have seen grief turn a well-dressed successful businessman into a man with poorly died hair, ill fitted suits and no job. He just dropped out of life.

But grief; after a time,  can also usher in gratitude. It can encourage us to take a deep breath and actually appreciate the feeling of cool air as it rushes through our nostrils and expands our lungs. Yes grief can shake us to our core and help us realize what is really important. It can arrest our current agenda and turn our attention to get busy with what is really important. On Sept 11th 2001, hate not only brought down the towers, it brought down the veil of unbearable loss for Mr. and Mrs. Williams. This veil of grief could have led them in understandably self-destructive directions. But the tragic loss of their beloved Kevin led to the birth of a foundation that has brought joy and opportunity to hundreds of very needy children.

pineconeopenEvery year the Kevin Williams Memorial Foundation  sends children who are matched in Long Island Youth Mentoring, to camp. Kevin loved baseball, so when the children go to baseball camp, they receive a bat, a glove and a bag. They are picked up at their door, given a lunch and brought back at the end of the day. The foundation sends our children to any camp we believe will benefit them. Following is a letter of gratitude that was written by one of these children. She is ten. As you read it, experience the joy that has been birthed out of the ashes of darkness.

Thank you for paying my way to young people’s day camp.

______ it was the most fun I’ve had any summer ever.

There was something to give me fun activites (sic) as well as

giving me the best chance to make friends and have something (sic)

to look forward to next year. I now I will always have family _____ at the big sister program.

Thank you for the chance of a life time (sic). If it weren’t for you,

I would never (sic) found new friend and would have never had that much fun in 2 weeks.

Thank you so much.

To: Big sister program

Rachelle’s signature

P.S. My counselers (sic) where (sic) the best. I miss them soooo much and can’t wait to see them again. I will cry (again) when I leave for the 2nd time.

Rachelle's letter about camp pg 1

Rachelle's letter about camp pg 1