It was only minutes before Trey’s funeral ceremony was to begin. We were all in the room dedicated to family (ish). Just before we walked out I got up, turned and faced my family and friends, and said, “Before we go out there, take a minute and look around. This is what love looks like.” I was fixated on the relationships that were present in that room. There was immediate family, extended family, some of our closest friends, and some friends that had come in from miles away just to be with us through the darkest time of our life. It both crushed and lifted me in the very same moment. It was a thunderous example of God’s provision for us through some extreme ugliness. It was exactly what love looks like. We then went out for the funeral and the picture of love grew greater. So many people, each with a different story as to why they were there…and they were there. We were able to have the most beautiful service that I could have ever imagined with the support of that love.
Fast forward 1.5 years later. I am now standing on the Penn Hills soccer field that is soon to be renamed the Nate Ferraco Memorial Field. Nate was a 2015 graduate of Penn Hills and a freshman at Geneva College. He was involved in a tragic accident that took his life late last year. Inexplicable, horrific, senseless, beyond any ability to be understood, the Ferraco family entered the darkest time of their life. Now, 8 or so months later they were there to see the most beautiful and yet ugliest thing ever, a scoreboard (donated by the funds raised by many) with Nate’s name on it next to the word “memorial.” Yet, there was something wonderful there too, hundreds of people. There were family, friends, teammates, rivals, classmates, teachers, administrators, school board members, neighbors, just ordinary people, people that knew Nate well, people that didn’t know him at all. It is a beautiful scoreboard, but they weren’t there to see that. They were there to show their love for the Ferraco family. That is what love looks like.
You see, I can’t for one minute think of Trey’s funeral without remembering what all of those people looked like, both in the room and in the service. The Ferraco’s will always remember all of the people in the stands and on the field that night. Does it hurt less? No. Is there some comfort and healing there? Yes.
Then just the other day, another snapshot of love appeared. We were hosting two of the greatest kids in the world overnight. Their mother was in the hospital for some treatment and the dad needed someone to help. I got Joe and Bella together and explained the situation to them. I went a little further and asked them to imagine how scared these two kids were. Their loved one was in the hospital. Sure, she was ok…but did they really believe that? Why did they have to sleep in someone else’s house? Sure they would have a blast but things aren’t ok…right now. It occurred to me half way into that sentence that they didn’t have to imagine it…they lived it. Granted it wasn’t their mother but it was their brother. They knew, they were more than aware of how that can feel. Both Joe and Bella did an amazing job loving those two kids. I couldn’t be prouder of them. They were able to love others with the same love that they have previously received.
That is what love looks like.