Do you ever have it when you read something and think that is too good not to share?
I am very fond of Megan DeGraaf Vos and the way she lives life with honesty, humor, faith, sass, gumption and grit. Megan’s heart is as wide as it is deep. Megan and those she holds closest to her heart (her husband and kids) have traveled so many different terrains. From all I read and observe, life is full of goodness and blessing and by no means has it been easy.
Tonight I wanted so share Megan’s words to Seniors. She says it clearly and well…
Seniors, I have some stuff to say to you, so listen up a sec, ok?
It’s likely you won’t be heading back to school this year, which means you’ve been cheated out of all your senior activities. No dinner and dance, no senior prom, no seeing us moms in knee socks and sweat bands handing out energy treats for the home stretch. You might not even have a ceremony. This all sucks. It’s suckety, suckety, suck, suck. Most of you have worked hard for the past 13 years. Some of you have just phoned it in, but that counts too, I suppose. You’ve spent countless hours on elementary school play grounds, building friendships on a foundation of sharing and wood chips. You’ve done all the crafts, filled in all the worksheets, learned some skills you’ll use daily and others you will never use again in your life, talking to you Sentence Diagramming. You’ve stood at the door to a new classroom every September, tummy in knots with the wondering what the year will hold, armed with sharpened number two pencils and false bravado, backpack bigger than you were sometimes. We, your parents, stood watching, hearts in our throats, knowing that you were one year closer to this one: your senior year.
You’ve lost a lot. This is a loss. Your spring break plans with friends have been thwarted, you might have to cancel the open house your mom has been planning, your last chance to compete on the pitch or the track or the court has been taken from you and that’s a loss that smarts. But we have prepared you for this since you were teeny. Every time you didn’t get invited to a birthday party everyone was talking about, every time your game was rained out, every time a sick sibling caused plans to fall through. We taught you that there is this thing called The Greater Good and that you must fight for that. We let you cry or rage or simmer and then we told you that, even though it hurts, it isn’t precious. That people are precious and plans aren’t. We let you hold baby chicks so you could see how fragile life is. We took you for walks in the woods on cool April days, pointing out the buds on trees so you could see that seasons are certain, new growth is certain, change is certain and good. We protected your hearts sometimes because that is our job, but we let them be a little broken sometimes because that is our job too. And we taught you that you are strong enough to face hard things. You are strong enough because God is with you and so will we be. Always.
This is your proving ground. We will give you time to mourn and rage over this loss; we will need that time too. We are pissed, a little. Sad, a little. But then we will say this to you: Seniors, you have been training for this your whole lives. This is your chance to take wobbly steps in global shoes. People are dying. Lots of them. The losses encountered in this pandemic are so much bigger than your prom or the open house we booked a caterer for. This is when you take the high ground. Continue to quarantine, even though what you want most right now is to commiserate with friends. In person. Look for ways to serve hurting people. Reach out to your classmates and make sure they are ok. Message your teachers, even the ones from eons ago, and thank them for what they taught you. Sew masks for hospital workers. Be bigger than this loss because you are bigger than this loss. We expect this of you.
We will mourn with you. And then we will model our most adultish behavior by figuring out how to celebrate you in quarantine. We will stage a graduation you will never forget, even if it’s just us in the backyard with a bluetooth speaker and nana and papa on Zoom. We will parade you around in your cap and gown, weep over you, take pictures, remember that you were teeny like, yesterday and weep some more. We will speak to you in the small hours of what is happening in the world. Not to frighten you, but to remind us both that the world is bigger than this. We will not be consumed by the loss because in the grand scheme of things we know that it is not precious. The thirteen or so school years that led to this one? Precious. The pictures of you standing under that tree in our front yard on the first day of every year? Precious. The bin in the basement with all the mementos we’ve saved from a childhood now drawing to a close? Precious. The thousands and thousands of people who are dying? Precious. The essential workers and health care people who are sacrificing themselves to save us all? My word, precious.
Seniors, you are badass. I can say that to you because you are adults and because it’s true. If you don’t walk across a stage in your cap and gown this spring it’s because you were never meant to. The God who holds every one of your days in his capable hands knew long before we did that you, Class of 2020, would spend your last primary school days in quarantine and he has already made ways for you. He will impress upon your sweet heart the next right thing to show the world that you know it is bigger than you. Class of 2020, you will forever be remembered for something. We, your parents, challenge you to be remembered for how gracious you were, for the concern you showed your fellow man during a pandemic and for the action you took, even if that action is staying home because people way smarter than you have told you to. We could not be more proud of that. No missed graduation can diminish our love and respect for you. You are our people.
We believe in you.
Thank you Megan for sharing your honesty, humor, faith, sass, gumption and grit.
Blessed Be His Name!