We question God so many times, trying to make sense of our struggles and trials in college. I will never forget one of the most tragic experiences of my life. In the middle of all the noise, I could hear a deafening silence. Who knew that heartbreak would affect all senses? The silence ringing, the smell of fear, the tears pouring, the empty hugs, the comfortless words - my body was in denial. As I walked from classroom to classroom, I relived every moment from the day before.
It was early release and, as usual, my motley crew of friends made their way to the cars. The group consisted of myself, my brother, and some friends from the football team. One of the guys was Folabi. The school knew him for his ability to transcend social groups, being a star football player as well as a star AP student, epitomizing the ideal high schooler. However, to me, he was a friend. I did not see the accolades or the achievements or the popularity. I saw a giant goofball. From him putting me in trashcans to teary-eyed phone calls, he was my friend. My last memory of him was in the rear-view mirror, watching him try to jump on top of my car as I drove off. That day was a Wednesday, February 27th.
I got a call four hours later, informing me that Folabi had departed. He was shooting hoops with some of the guys when he suddenly collapsed. Who would ever imagine that a four-year, varsity football player would face cardiac arrest in a casual pick-up game? That day, I did not know what to ask. The confusion and the fog of sadness kept me from clearly understanding my pain. I, myself, was silent. What words could I offer myself? My friend had passed away. Without warning, there was a hole. Folabi’s departure from this world stayed with me through college. I would randomly find myself crying and sad, thinking about that one Wednesday in my senior year. We have to remind ourselves that God is always there, that God was, is, and will always be good. Everything in our lives works towards and through that goodness, even when it does not make sense.