I expected to feel a lot of things at the candlelight vigil for Matt Miller and Gavin Powell, the two teen boys that tragically drown this weekend while rafting. Loss, sadness, grief are natural outcomes at such a gathering. There were moments when all of these emotions flooded my senses.
What I also experienced, though, was a sense of pride, beauty and hope. I am privileged to live in such a wonderful community. Walnut Creek has a population of over 64,000, yet it maintains a small town feel. Over a thousand souls assembled to pay tribute to these boys. I’m sure many of the gathered were like me, I had never met the boys (although my daughter knew Gavin), but wanted to show support for the families of the boys.
A line of flickering lights stretched as far as I could see. At times, there was a hushed silence, then a spontaneous cheer would erupt at the front of the march, and like a wave at a baseball stadium, voices at the back of the pack would join in celebration.
Probably 75% of the assembled were teenagers. What struck me the most was the absolute respect with which the youth conducted themselves. How can our world not be a better place with these young people following in our footsteps?
I imagine Gavin and Matt staring down from the heavens at all these flickering lights. I imagine them pumping their fists and rejoicing at the celebration in their honor. I am sorry I did not have the privilege of meeting them. I am sorry that their parents have to face a world without their child for the rest of their lives.
This will be a night like no other. Thank you boys for giving us all a glimpse of what the future generation will bring to this world. You will not be forgotten.