Up to the Task

I watch him run around the yard with his cousins. I have one thought: this isn’t fair.

Rylan is a precocious tow-headed five-year-old.

He is precocious. That’s just a fancy word for full of life.

He is precious. That’s special.


Rylan has seen a great deal in his young life.

He lost his father through death.

Now a few short years later, he’s lost his precious mother, Amber. As most of you know, Amber Borel and her boyfriend, Michael Maddox died in a tragic car accident last weekend.

Michael was buried yesterday.

Amber’s funeral is today.

DeDe and I are standing in the yard of Rylan’s great-grandmother, where this young boy is surrounded by his cousins and the strong nucleus of his people, the Young/Benoit/Wilber family.

I’m known these folks for half a century. I’ve seen them weather many storms of life. I’ve watched them circle the wagons and take care of each other as only family can do.

They’re doing this again.

And they’re doing it well.

I worry about Rylan and how the losses of a father and mother will affect him. Then there’s the loss of Michael, the man who was becoming his step-father.

Rylan Borel has suffered great losses in his short life.

I reflect on the strong thread of Biblical scriptures assuring us of God’s care and love for those who’ve lost: a father to the fatherless.

There are spiritual mandates on the care of widows and orphans.

Now I wish to make this clear, Rylan is not an orphan. He’s surrounded by the great love of a family. A strong family.

Rylan will grow up in a community that will surround him with care at school, church, and in everyday life.

It is now the responsibility of the Dry Creek/East Beauregard community to help raise this young man.

It’s the community that raised me. They will do their job and more.


In addition to being cared for by this extended family and community, Rylan will live with his grandparents, next door to his great-grandmother.

I know that great-grandmother well. Agnes Young has lived an overflowing life in her long years. Rylan will be the recipient of her deep faith and steady love.

Then there’s his grandparents, Tammy and Shane.

He’ll grow up under their care.

I wasn’t one bit surprised to learn that Rylan will live with his grandparents.

Tammy and Shane Wilber.

There’s no one I love and respect deeper.

I taught them both in high school and been privileged to remain close friends over these years.


They’ve stood by DeDe and I in tough times.

We’ve been privileged to do the same for them.


Rylan will grow up in a home of love.

Tammy will give Rylan that overflowing gift of a grandmother’s love. There’s nothing quite like it.

Shane, the Quiet Man, will teach him to hit a curveball and make a corner kick.

Most of all, Shane will be the steady manly influence that every boy needs.


These grandparents, uncles/aunts and cousins will provide the right soil for a young boy to grow up and flourish in.

Rylan’s precious mother, Amber Borel, is in good hands.

God’s hands.

It’s a good place to be.

The same is true for her son, Rylan.

He’s also in God’s hands.

And God is up to the task of taking care of this boy.

And the couple he’s tasked with taking care of Rylan: Shane and Tammy Wilber.

God will use them.

God is using them.


And with the strength of God, they are more than up to the task.

May the same be said of all of us.

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