A few days ago no one had heard of this young man, and now after the devastation in Joplin, Missouri on Sunday, most of us are familiar with his story. He is the boy who was missing for four days, after being pulled from his car by 200 mph winds during the monster tornado. In the days following, his family searched for him with no success. In the wrenching hours and days since the tornado, the boy's father, Mike Hare, said he'd searched hospitals and continually called his son's cell phone, getting no answer. "It rang for the first day and a half, and now it goes straight to voice mail. But just in case he gets it, I want him to know his dad loves him," the father said earlier this week. ~~ CNN
This is a heartbreaking story, and puts a name and a face to the devastation of the tornado. When I saw the story on CNN, I couldn't help thinking how much this 16 year-old young man resembles our Phinnaeus -- except for the Justin Bieber hair -- they are very similar. The features and the winning smile are the same, and they are just like millions of other teenage boys out there who are venturing towards their lives, trying to figure things out, being goofy one minute and serious the next, perhaps testing boundaries, while at the same time needing to feel safe.
The story doesn't have a happy ending; Lantz Hare's body was found today. His parents are beyond devastated.
We never know, do we? One minute we're hollering at them to do the dishes or mow the lawn, or for goodness sake make their bed and finish their homework. The next moment we're laughing at some completely ridiculous joke they've told, or that perfect imitation they did of their math teacher. It's all part of the day-to-day stuff we take for granted. Until it's gone.
The loss of this young man will create a huge, unfillable hole in his family member's lives. Forever. There will be a hundred small things about him that they will miss -- things they perhaps never really even noticed until he was gone. His winsome face will smile out from the Internet, and he will be the face of what can happen when things are perfectly normal one moment, and are irrevocably changed the next moment. Forever.
Now, wherever you are, get up from your computers and go and hug your kids. They'll probably wonder what the heck you're doing, but do it anyway. If they ask why, tell them, "Because Jo said so..."