As I wake early on this Tuesday morning, just like I would any other school day morning, I make the coffee, read my devotional, and go to Google Classroom to double-check the virtual assignments that I posted last Friday.
Last Friday. Sigh. When we left school last Friday to embark on the unknown of COVID-19, I heard some of my seniors in the hall saying,
“This could be our last day of senior year.”
It is all so bizarre.
Our principal, in a school-wide assembly, told students and teachers to take everything home because no one would be allowed back in the building, and he concluded with a statement that we will have to remind ourselves of daily for weeks–perhaps months–to come:
“Don’t make this about you. You can be disappointed, and I understand that, but this is not about you. It is about all of us and doing the right thing for everyone.”
My seniors understand those words, as does my daughter who is a senior at a different school, and they will all do the right thing. They have no choice really, but the sting and reality of those words have settled hard on these smart, creative, big-hearted, dream-carrying, fear-of missing-out, young adults.
Through their eyes and screens, their senior year of “last times” is potentially becoming their senior year of “disappearing times”–from prom to spring sports to group bicycle rides to school the last week and much more.
Two weeks ago when rumblings of potential school closings could be heard, my daughter said,
“I will walk across that stage, Mom.”
Now, with rumblings of closing school for the rest of the semester and press conferences that speculate the COVID-19 wave spilling through August, my daughter–who rarely ever makes anything about her–is more than disappointed. She is sad because she sees that stage disappearing right along with her spring break trip and prom and everything else that comes with the end of senior year.
I am that mom and teacher who preaches positive thinking and gratitude and kindness.
What are you thankful for today? When negative thoughts show up in your brain, ask God to get rid of them and replace them with positive. Keep your focus. Be kind. Put on love.
All of these things I say, and yet, today, only two days into the school closure, I don’t have the right words for my girl and my students.
The only words that come to mind are from God, for in Proverbs 3:5-6, He reminds us that we may not always understand everything that is happening, but we must trust in Him and He will direct us.
However, when you’re 17 or 18, and high school is literally your life– you wake for it, you stay up late for it, you celebrate and abhor it–even God’s words seem to sting.
So, as all of us navigate this unknown for our kids, students, communities, and nation, I echo my principal’s words that we not make this personal, that we not make this about ourselves but rather the greater good, and I also cling to God’s words and put my trust in Him through all of this.
BUT, once we are able to give a hug again instead of an elbow bump, and once we are allowed to surround ourselves with more than ten friends, let’s make a promise to the class of 2020 that we will make this right, even if we have to hold a prom and/or graduation in one of our backyards or down the road at the 4-H Center.
Be smart, healthy, and safe, everyone, and let God direct your path. Peace.