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Saturday, June 4, 2016

One Moment

This week my son graduated from 8th grade. In many parts of the world this might not be a big deal, but our community is adoringly focused on celebrating our kids’ milestones. Not only do we love our kids, but we can’t help but dote. As a matter of fact, I would argue our high school graduation parties tend to rival weddings. Not that I don't feed right into this. Certainly the love we shower among the village kids will create good juju when sending them off into the world. It’s all very good energy. 

Unless, maybe, it isn’t.

My son had already gone off with friends as hubby and I left the 8th grade graduation reception. My feelings of pride and joy quickly dissipated when I noticed a lone 8th grader sitting on the bench, waiting for the bus. He was politely sifting through his folder of accomplishments. He wasn’t dressed up as many were that day, wearing the typical uniform of a 14-year-old boy: sweatshirt and jeans. My first assumption was that his parents couldn’t make it—understandable since the event took place at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Monday. But the thought of a boy not having anyone there to support him or give him a hug made me instantly and utterly sad. The auditorium, you see, had been flooded with parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends.

So what did I do?

Nothing. I did not walk over to wish congratulations.  I didn't shout out good luck in high school. I didn't even tell him to have a nice summer. What prevented me from reaching out with a gesture of kindness? I’m not sure, except perhaps I didn’t want to seem creepy. But I have relived it, over and over in my head.

The point of this blog is perhaps a confession for my lack of action. And perhaps it’s a call to be on guard. If you have a chance to perform any small act of good will, don’t hesitate. The kid might have been perfectly content and ready to celebrate with his family and other friends that night. But he might’ve been lonely and feeling isolated. The next time I jump in my time traveler, I’ll offer him warm wishes. In the meantime, I’ll continue to pray for him–and for all people to show more love. 

Congrats to Cole–and every single kid to cross the stage. Any stage. 

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