Tristan's father's death, to Abby and to us, happened in June two years ago, when Dave decided to leave his marriage a fews days after Tristan's first birthday. It wasn't a physical death of course, but an emotional one.
Dave had grown up, but not out of the shadow and stigma of poverty it cast on his adult life. He had told the story of the cruel teasing of school children because he dressed in raggedy clothes smelling of body odor. Because of his past, as an adult, Dave was overly sensitive to what he perceived as criticism, where there was none. Dave worked hard to rise above where he came from but the past had left it's mark.
This morning at church it came time for the children's sermon which is held in the front pews of the sanctuary. There was Tristan sitting in the front pew, looking back at us occasionally. Deanna, who taught, asked them if they were looking forward to the start of school. She recounted a story from the third grade where there was a girl in her class who was made fun of because she wore dirty clothes to school, smelled, and had dirty frizzy hair. This recollection visibly upset Deanna to where she had to pause to gain control of herself. The kids were spellbound. She said that she, and other, more popular kids rubbed dirt on their faces at recess and tied their hair in knots and teased it. From that day on the other children left that girl alone. She said that she wanted all the children present that day to make a new friend at the start of the school year, especially a child who is unpopular and shunned by others. As she was telling the story I couldn't help but think of Dave, with his son paying rapt attention.
Deanna then said she was going to talk about Lazarus. She was going to relate how showing Christian love can give new life to people through the story of Lazarus, who was raised from death by Jesus.
"Does anyone here know who Lazarus is?"
Tristan raised his hand.
"Tristan, do you know who Lazarus is?"
Tristan replied, "That's me."