On February 11, 2015, Union College professor and Facing Project writer Sarah Hendrix was tragically killed. This post, and this week’s Featured Story, is in her memory.
Just the other day I was pitter-pattering across the belt of an old, dusty treadmill at my gym trying to recount the ups and downs of my day. Runs are typically my time to reflect, but on this particular day I was having some trouble as the stale air, coupled with a heavy stomping from my neighbor-treadmill-user, made it hard to think—and breathe.
But on my mind was the passage of life. Each morning I examine my face in the mirror, and each time I notice a new line and wonder how I’ve become my father. When I think of my dad, and how he’s aged to 71—and my grandmother, his mother, died at 87—I begin to worry about the number of years I have left with him.
And then something happens that just reminds you to enjoy the days you have with your loved ones.
That something came yesterday when Monica Clouse, the project organizer for Facing Addiction in Knox County, Kentucky: It’s Our Move, notified me that one of the writers on the project had been killed by her son.
Sarah Hendrix was a Social Work professor at Union College. She was just 53 years old.
Union College is tucked away within the hollows of Barbourville, Kentucky—a community of just 3,100 people; 825 of which are Union College students. To say it is small is an understatement. But what Union, and Barbourville, isn’t short on is a sense of community.
I had the opportunity to visit during their book release for Facing Addiction, and rolling into Barbourville was one the most welcoming experiences of my life. Everyone seemed to know each other, greet one another with a smile or a hug, and there was a real sense of Union pride. I can’t imagine the tear this has created in the fabric of that community. One of its own patches from a vibrant quilt ripped away.
From what I’ve learned about Sarah, she was a devoted follower of Christ. Religion was important to her, and the teachings of Jesus were reflected in the way she taught, spoke, and helped others. For Facing Addiction, Sarah wrote the story of Neil—a former drug abuser and gambling addict who turned his own life around by becoming a “Fool for Christ.”
In Neil’s words Sarah wrote:
Pouring my life into the lives of others is what came from my encounter with Christ. Unity with other people is the beauty that drugs once provided. Servant-hood is what is missing from the lives of many.
Sarah poured her own life into the lives of others. She will be deeply missed by the Union College family, the Barbourville community, The Facing Project, and countless others she touched with her passion and stories.
Please pray, send good vibes, or whatever your sense of healing and reflection may be toward Union College and the Barbourville community.
This week’s Featured Story is Sarah’s: “I’m a Fool for Christ: Neil’s Story.”