Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rachel's Challenge

Yesterday I heard the father of Rachel Joy Scott speak about his daughter, and the legacy she left.

Rachel was the first student killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. I remember that day clearly, as I was a junior in high school at the time, and the same age of many of the students who were killed. Thirteen innocent people died that day, 12 students and 1 teacher, at the hand of two high school students who then took their own lives.

Hearing the story again yesterday hit just as hard as it did the first time around, but yesterday I also got to experience some of the light that has radiated from that dark day in history.

Weeks before her death, Rachel wrote a paper about starting a chain reaction. Her theory was that doing a small act of kindness would encourage the recipient to do the same, and so on and so for, starting a chain reaction. Rachel challenged the reader to step out and start their own chain reaction. I would say that little did she know how many people would read her paper, but I think that she did.

In Rachel's journal she wrote that she was going to change the world, and almost exactly a year before her death she wrote a prayer that her last year on earth would be one where she could reach out to others. She knew she was going to die, and she even said it would be by homicide. So she lived intentionally.

On the day she died, sitting in the last class she ever sat in, she drew a picture. The picture was of eyes, with 13 tears falling. The thirteen tears fell upon a rose and turned to blood. Moments later 12 students including Rachel, and 1 teacher were killed.

It wasn't until her funeral, when person after person stood to share stories about Rachel, that it was realized what an impact she did have on the world.

After hearing Rachel's story, a couple things stood out to me. It was clear to me that she was in close fellowship with her Creator, and as a result it was clear to her how she would die, and how she would impact the world.

In her journal she wrote down her dreams, and through her death her dreams were realized. Her chain reaction has spread across the world. Her funeral was aired on CNN, and was the most watched showing in CNN history up to that time. Since then the testimonies of her life and generosity have been heard by millions, and millions have stepped up to become part of the chain reaction of kindness.

I admire Rachel for hearing God's call on her life, and living it out in everything she did. I love that because of the way she lived her life, tragedy has turned into triumph, and God has radiated light through the darkness.

Walking away yesterday I felt emotionally stretched, but also inspired.

One quote from Rachel's father that I want to share with you, and I want you to think about is this:

"If your dreams and goals do not stretch beyond yourself and your lifetime, you need to dream bigger."

Are your dreams big enough? Are you in such close fellowship with God that your dreams and goals flow from his call on your life? Are you living out your God given dreams?

I would love to hear what they are.