track team 1980

Dear Class of 2020

I am Sorry

I am sorry. Just so sorry. I think (way) back to my senior year in high school and I know it would have been devastating to not have been able to finish the school year as normal.  Back in 1980, there wasn’t a whole lot I liked about myself—it was a time where I was stuck on being envious of others. I had a whole lot of insecurities and not a lot of self-esteem. In 1980, I thought I was all alone in that. Now I know differently.  But even though I wished my life to be different than it was, there were two things I thoroughly enjoyed in high school. One was the high school musicals and the other was track. 

Highlight of My Senior Year

During my senior year, I was part of an amazingly talented 4 x 400-meter relay team. We won a lot of races. And we found ourselves qualifying for the State track meet. And then we found ourselves on top of the podium with gold medals around our necks. 

This isn’t about my performance–by far I was the weakest link of that relay team. Each relay team is made up of four legs…and they needed my two.  The point is, I GOT TO be a part of this accomplishment because I GOT TO go out for track my senior year.  I GOT TO find out what might happen with the dreams I had tucked deep in my insecure heart. 

You Don’t GET TO

And I am deeply sorry that you will not GET TO see if your dream could come true in your sport, or with your drama performance, or your “thing” whatever that is.  Maybe it is your shining personality that lights up a room and now you cannot enter a room to light it up. Maybe you were dreaming of prom or your concert solo.  I don’t know what it is, but I am sorry for your loss.  I really am.

I Would Be MAD

I think back to my 17-year-old self and I don’t know how I would be dealing with this isolation. But I am pretty sure I would have been angry. Really angry.  Without track or the daily routine of school, I would have had to work on the farm because that would have been the expectation. Sure, I would have been doing distance learning, but I’m not sure how in the world that would have worked in 1980—all handwritten papers and worksheets—I shudder) What would have been extremely hard and sad would have been what would have replaced my beloved track practices and meets—work on the farm. There were many reasons I liked track, but one reason for sure was that it was a reprieve from the farm chores that I never embraced. Yep, I’d have been angry and depressed.

I’m Angry and Sad on Your Behalf

I’m not sure what is replacing your favorite extracurricular activities but I am sad and angry on your behalf. It really is unfair. Some people will tell you that it isn’t that bad, that it could be worse, that you don’t have a reason to complain—but I am here to tell you that my seventeen-year-old self would be silently screaming at all those kinds of adults who said such things to me. The thing is, this is your life. Your senior year is your senior year. It is the time and place of your life and it matters.  It mattered to me when I was your age—and because it matters to you, it matters. Period.

I Have No Good Advice

I wish it wasn’t this way. I don’t have any wisdom or advice. I don’t think I would have wanted any back in 1980 had this been my story.  All I am going say is, I hope you will consider having a heart-to-heart conversation with God. Tell Him about your anger, your fears, your sadness, your desperation, your depression, and your struggle. I encourage you to be real and honest. God can handle it. He already knows. I also suggest you stick with Him long enough to get it all puked out. You might be angry for a long while. You might be sad for a long season. Please tell Him so. Ask Him for what you need in order to cope. Ask Him for what you want, even if it seems it’s been stolen and lost forever. Ask Him.  Then stick around long enough to hear what He has to say to your heart. I think it is the only answer, really. You might not get all the answers, but I promise you will get His peace.

I am out here, thinking of you, praying for you, and asking God for good to come from this for you. This will not be wasted. You will be a stronger you because of this. May you find the blessings.