(Sung Joong Kim is a former youth student of mine. I asked him to write a post about anything regarding faith and this is what he wrote. You can follow him on twitter here)
May 9, 2004
That day would forever change my life. I did not know at the time how significant that day was. But as I grow older, I realize how important and meaningful it was.
That was the day my friend, Harmony Lyman passed away. She was fourteen. She died because of a heart condition. But you would not know it if you spent time with her. You would think (at least I did) that she was a healthy, normal girl. She was a little small for her age but there was nothing to make you think she was supposed to die a couple months after birth. I met Harmony when I was ten years old. We had just moved to our new apartment and she was my next door neighbor. She had a bright, kind demeanor and was very friendly. We would play together here and there but not too often. I am not sure what she thought of me but I did not think too much of her, other than she was a nice girl.
After I met her, her condition grew close and I did not see her as often. When I did, I could tell it was getting hard for her. Her body was weaker and her energy was limited. But, she was still joyful and kind. Till this day, I thought she was going to pull through.
The week before her death, she went to the hospital. I knew it was serious because all of her family flew down to be with her. As naive as I was, I thought she was going to make it. I thought I would see her again.
During that week, I wrote her a letter. This letter was nothing special. I just did it as a gift, to encourage her. At the time, it was the only thing I could think of. I gave it to her grandmother to give to her. After a few days, I met Harmony’s grandmother and she told me that Harmony read that letter every night before she went to bed. Every night.
To be honest, I do not remember what I wrote to Harmony while she lay on her deathbed. I thought she would read it, take a moment to be encouraged and be done. To her, that letter was more than just a letter. At least, that is how I view it.
I start off with this story because it is a reminder to me how important relationships are. How spending time with someone can make a difference in your life when you least expect them to.
Jesus told His disciples that the world will know that they are His by the way they loved one another. Not by how they prayed or how they healed thousands through miracles. We will be known as disciples of Christ by how we treat our neighbors and the relationships we have with them. I realized this point later in my Christian walk. I still struggle with it now. It is hard to show unconditional love toward people who may never love you back.
Even though it was short, Harmony displayed this love toward me even though I did not return it at the time. Her kindness toward me was undeserved, yet she was kind anyway. I do not think she knew the impact she would have on my life, nor did I know the impact my letter would have on her. Because of this, I do not think the time spent with someone matters as much as the quality of time spent with that someone.
This is something I am starting to learn and implement in my life as a Christ believer. I still have a long way to go. Making mistakes and hurting people are unfortunately expected in this path towards showing divine love. I hope that whoever reads this can be inspired that relationships, however small, can make a difference. We do not know if our efforts will bear fruit. But if they do, it may alter a person’s life and lead them toward the love of God.