Posted by Kay Pardue on September 22, 2014
Life is so insanely amazing right now. Highschool is often the time we get to transition from the childhood identities others have created for us and begin to become the adults we long to be. College does this too, often intensely, but highschool seems to be a giddy mix of excitement and responsibility while college can feel like all responsibility sometimes. In highschool, my heart was one with the Grinch’s – it grew size upon size, sometimes within moments. Time and time again. I’m sure yours has felt this way, too. With growing up, with growing into responsibility, we grow into the ability to care with a zeal that has never before been possible. We didn’t know how large our hearts were. Our hearts burn and long and love in ways it never has before. Adult life can seem so far removed from the waves we’re stupid and brave enough to try to cross.
You are at the beginning of a journey no one can steal from you. God created highschoolers to be the action to ideas in a way that no other age group can do quite the same. I learned this but, sadly, didn’t put it into practice as I should. Learn from my mistakes.
Take the leap.
My life once seemed leap-less, paralyzed by fear. I would pour over stories of children, reading books late into evenings and losing sleep I needed to store up for tests only to read blogs recounting parents’ journeys. The lives of families pouring themselves out on the altars of sacrifice and love for the least of these piqued my heart in ways Algebra II and American Lit. never could. I didn’t know how to act, though. I didn’t know any orphans, I had never left the country and I was pitifully empty on funds or resources to do so. This was egged on by fear.
You, friends, are blessed. I didn’t know something like The Movement existed and if I had, I would have been too afraid to do anything about it. Don’t be afraid of loving the lonely, even if it means you are the only one in your school making a ruckus, breaking away from the mold you know, deep down inside, you’re not meant to exist within. Highschool is ridiculously wonderful and heart-wrenchingly painful at the same time. You are floating on highs and sunk deep into lows, but these extremes make you the perfect people to be raising your voices.
You can yell louder than culture because you have the ability to yell until you’re hoarse. Your voice is young and healthy and can rise to such a decibel that people will stop and look. They tell you the world is your oyster. They tell you this at graduation, they tell you this with $20 bills on your party day when everyone shakes your hand, and they tell you this during your last weeks walking the tile halls, but I didn’t listen.
“Oh the places you’ll go!” they quote in long commencement ceremonies.
Believe them. Don’t be afraid to believe them! And go places none of your classmates dare to go. Go with your hands open, grabbing everyone in your path, emitting such a power and light to form a human chain of care and action no nay-sayer can break. You know, you believe, you are convinced your mission isn’t just as long as highschool. It goes beyond that.
Your mission is eternal. You’re out to advocate for the next generation, advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. You, highschoolers, are out to change the world.
You have the time.
You are scheduled to kingdom come with extracurricular activities and homework and sporting meets and ceremonies. I convinced myself, between choir concerts and having to finish “Great Expectations” by Friday, that if I had to deal with anything else I would burst like a balloon and go floating off into oblivion. But what I didn’t know was how much time I truly had. We miss the moments in-between deadlines and teacher’s expectations.
I had time to watch The Office and eat bowls of ice cream and spend far too much time browsing Pinterest. I did not realize how much time I had to care. I had a heart full of empty rooms, un-rented, unused. Make your heart a home to things that matter.
You have the energy.
You’re pulling all-nighters and you’re falling asleep on your desk. I know, I fell asleep every afternoon like clockwork on top of my British Literature. But you are in a time in your lives where sleep comes at odd hours and your brain is in constant motion. You are pulsing with youth, alive with energy. You can climb mountains at midnight and build Science Fair exhibits at 4am. Your energy is unbounded, fed by zeal and caffeine. Fueled by that insane high known as the teenage years, you’re the group adults looks on and wish they could run as fast and jump as high as you.
Run for things that matter. Jump over hurdles they tell you can’t be cleared. You have the energy to care more than you ever believed possible.
You are wise beyond your years.
That’s why you’re on The Movement blog right now. That’s why something is growing inside your heart, whispering or yelling or screaming that you need to care about orphans in a way you never have before. You understand the need and you are hungry for more.
Don’t allow your fears to keep you from what could be. I let my fears bind me when I could’ve been the catalyst for the greatest change. No one expects a highschooler to care: but you do care. You care so deeply, it hurts. It eats at you, it makes you brainstorm in the margins of your math homework and read blogs instead of textbooks and spend hours wondering what you could do instead of wondering what to wear.
You are more than you could ever image. You are capable.
You are enough.
Don’t be afraid to do something. You have the ability to do so much, and we believe in you more than you believe in yourself. I’m a college student learning how to swim up-stream. You are no less able to go against the grain, and in fact, you’re the perfect one for the job. You’re game-changers.
There are over 140 million orphans in the world in need of a highschooler who cares.
You are highschoolers.
-Myra Stull: A Red Bus Project Intern who believes in the power of youth