I want to start with a prayer that I wrote regarding my class on March 14 at 8:00 am.
It’s for the Director of Music. Our God. Our Savior. Our friend.
Psalms interchanged for shame.
Hymns replacing unworthiness.
Songs of lament.
Songs of hate.
Transition and change flow into songs of joy.
Songs of praise.
Hymn tunes already written.
Line up our song of lament for your hymn tune.
Oh director of music,
Create notes out of our despair.
Tell the angels to drum to the rhythms of our hearts.
Let the trumpets roar out of anger, only to create praise of power.
Let the guitarist play a melancholy song,
Echoing the cries of our hearts.
But, A good Conductor will not let the instrument go out of tune.
You, O God, will not waste a hurt.
You will wind and tie the treble clefs and the highs.
The basses and the lows.
A song that praises your name.
So when we suffer, we worship.
We let God line up our lives to His plan.
And we praise through it.
An orchestra cannot function without passion.
So let us be passionate and praise.
Pursue the orchestra of our lives.
Be the Great Conductor.
Oh, Director of Music,
Sing and dance to our song.
And we will learn to join you.
This year at CCS, my class walked through what human suffering is, and if we must suffer to be fully human. Through the pain of Mrs. Tawzer’s essays on essays, forced discussions, and podcast scripts, we’ve concluded that yes, you do. We must suffer to be fully human. Which human being has never suffered? Even Christ hung and died and bled because He was fully human. Suffering is the one thing that unites humanity. It’s the one thing that we all go through. You may be a different gender, race, size, or color than the person sitting right next to you, but I guarantee that you both can unanimously agree, without speaking to each other, that you both have suffered.
But what’s even more beautiful than knowing that people go through it, is that everyone suffering can miraculously transform into a story, into a testimony, and it’s offered to everyone by a death 2000 years ago on the Hill of Calvary. Everyone’s testimony is so unique, able to light up the darkest places of another’s life because of the love and light of Christ. No two people, not two transformation stories are the exact same, that’s how cool and unique and awesome and majestic our God is. But everyone still has a story. Everyone has the opportunity to choose Him. To love Jesus.
I know that my class has suffered. First of all, finals week. We did not all get along at the beginning of high school. We struggled to turn our many groups into one. We struggled to realize that none of us were meant to change individually for the class. Some of us felt unwelcome in our own classroom just because we didn’t know where to fit into the mold. But somewhere along the way of these past 4 years at Central Christian, it clicked. We, without physically discussing it, realized and accepted that we were all designed into this class because we are all different. It’s our different backgrounds, or different thoughts, beliefs, interests, those are the things that made us gravitate towards each other. The various personalities made a group that anyone can be a part of because everyone is accepted. The bitterness and the confusion previously is what makes our relationship together so sweet now. Our God does not waste a hurt. After discovering this, I had the absolute time of my life as CCS. Yes, I hated the work sometimes. And yes, I thought I wasn’t going to make it after the 2nd quarter. But I woke up every morning and was excited to see the faces around me. To see how despite their pasts, their individual tribulations, and our group trials, they still chose to praise. They would worship without even realizing they were worshiping. And that’s what gave me life at CCS. In the way, Sloan never ceases to lighten up the mood of the room, no matter how much we didn’t want to be there. The way that Johnson was so motivated was to ensure that all of us students know we have a purpose. In the way that Breit lights up just when we enter the room. In the way that Flury has unshakable perseverance with us. In the way Tawzer sparked our creativity, igniting a passion to worship with our talents. In the way Mr. and Mrs. Epley cared for us like our own kids. The way Mrs. P and Mrs. Carlson just feel like a hug every time we talk with them. The way I didn’t know half the elementary school teachers, and yet they knew each of us by name. These teachers and adults are what put the Christian in Central Christian. Not because they follow a rule book, or follow a religion. But because they have a relationship with Christ that is so beautiful and so lovely and so life-giving that they have no choice but to get up and worship and praise around us.
Yet, as much as I loved these adults, the real reason I chose to wake up, get ready, and drive to school at 7:25 every morning was because of my class. I will never forget our quote book which I hope no one willingly reads again. I will never forget winging the lip sync battle. Or absolutely dominating in chapel games. Or the seriousness of volleyball. Or the endless Takis Seth carried. Or the unhealthy amount of energy drinks consumed. But mostly, I will never forget how often we laughed. I was able to watch and admire how they get up and worship and share their testimony so effortlessly, just through joy. I am honored I got to wake up and observe Kenan’s utmost love and devotion to everything. To his work, his family, and especially to younger people, making them feel included and worthy. I am honored to have gotten to know Cade and watch him get passionate about things he loved and enjoyed, and he does not shy away from sharing those with the world. I am honored to have admired Clay’s humility tied into the way he acts and speaks, making everything he does so much sweeter because he never ceases to lift others up before himself. I am honored to watch how close Elli became with everyone, because she is the most understanding human out there, taking the time to stop and cry and laugh with anyone, just because that’s what Christ would have done. I am honored to see how Jonny absolutely transforms someone’s day because he is simply joyful, putting all his effort into making someone smile and reflecting on all the reasons to be alive. I am honored to have observed Kaeden’s die-hard loyalty to his people, always joining in and knowing who to protect and let into his life. I am beyond honored to sit with Melinda’s truth-giving heart, and how she will never ever let anything shake the Truth that Christ has gifted her. I’m so glad and honored that I met Savannah and her vulnerability, always reminding others that we can struggle together and make the best of it. I am honored to have watched Seth branch out and live in his creativity, wanting others to know how they can be creative like him because of our God-given talents. I am grateful that Teilor joined us this year, and am honored that I was influenced by her determination, knowing her worth in Christ, and how that nothing can really shake her core because she is His. All these people are able to reflect His beauty and light so well because of the darkness He had transformed.
I'm going to read one last poem I wrote that reminds me of how my class unintentionally praises joy and laughter. One last poem that reminds me of my people to wrap this up.
There was a girl in a tutu at worship today.
It was pink. Light. Airy. It danced with no movement and moved with little energy.
Her pigtails twirled and danced around her head with every turn.
The sequins sparkled and shone in the beams of bright light.
Her stuffed unicorn held tight in her tiny arms.
Why was she dancing?
Why didn’t she care who saw her?
Why does my class worship?
The Spirit consumed her. Them.
She had no choice but to dance. To praise.
And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is joy.
She had gladness in her heart because God’s face was shining on her.
He was dancing with her.
He dances with us.
Closer than her sequins.
Closer than the air spinning around her.
Closer than the mother she ran back, to make sure she could see what the Lord is doing.
Closer than our robes and caps and tassels.
Closer than the bittersweet moments that are now memories.
Through the Spirit, she was dancing at the altar.
Her utmost praise. Her joy.
Because of the notes ringing in sweet melodies.
In response to voices of hurt and despair converting to repentance as soon as the words left her tongue.
Because Jesus was dancing with her.
Because Jesus dances with us.
Jesus, continue to dance with us.
Be our invisible partner. Step on every lie with us.
Twirl with us in Your light, lighting up our sequins, our hearts.
Lord, give us a tutu.
The one thing that tugs on my heartstrings the most about graduation is the fact that I feel ripped away from a wonderful, so uniquely diverse group of young people so soon. I want to get to know them more and more every day. I want to see how they dance and twirl with Jesus every second of every day. So CCS, I thank you for this group of people that you assigned me to. Lord Jesus, I thank you for placing me into a class that was able to take the failures and turn them into opportunities for community because of You.
I want to thank you all for being my friends. Thanks for letting me dance on the altar everyday with you. I love you.