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By Kellie Herdade, Youth Minister
Do you remember what it was like to be a senior in high school? I do!! There were parties, and skip days, proms and special breakfasts, walking across the stage as your name was called to receive the diploma that was earned with ease or through hardship. I went to this “clap out” for my daughter’s senior class and I shopped with both of my children for the “just has to be amazing” clothing for prom. Planning their graduation party was a joy and a challenge for a good three months before.
This year high school seniors and parents have been robbed of this by a pandemic. They have been robbed of the opportunity to walk through this milestone with their children. What do you do for a young person who has be waiting for this moment all through their senior year and even before that? Spring break senior year still holds great memories for me and my heart aches that these youth will not get the opportunity to add this to their story. Their story will look different than any that came before. The emotional turmoil that is surrounding these families also has to do with the unknown that we are all living in. Will there be a …. Can I plan a ……? Too many questions without answers make most of us uncomfortable. I’ve seen so little sharing of what schools the youth have chosen, or what paths they plan to take. Being robbed of the joy of announcing this except on social media or in a text to a friend. And if we think we are missing the friends in our lives, think back to when you were young. As much as each young person loves their family, most of them are more interested and worried about the friends they have been cut off from. Just take a phone away from a teenager for a day and see what kind of anxiety and fear rises in them. Being in the presence of their friends is ever so important to their mental health.
It’s hard to celebrate while practicing social distancing.
I pray these families know that their grief is real. Yes, there are people that are experiencing loss of life and job, but that does not mean you do not get to feel your own pain and disappointment. Someone shared a great article about teaching our young people to make room for uncomfortableness, that we become stronger as we allow ourselves to sit with all our feelings and be okay with them. As we all give ourselves the opportunity and space to be disappointed, sad, and grieve.
I would like us as a church family to make space to lift up, encourage and surprise those beautiful young people among us who are in need of just this kind of love!! I would like us to be the hands and feet of Christ in the broken world in which our young people find themselves. We have created several opportunities in which you can join in this effort.