SK is home for the holiday. She told me last week that this is the first time she's ever wished she wasn't at Whitworth. From the moment she set foot on that campus, she's felt like she found her place in this world. All through high school, though she had great friends, people she could be honest with about her faith--which is no small thing in a public high school--but not many who actually shared her beliefs. Then she went to Whitworth. And discovered a whole campus full of people with similar passions, interests, and for the first time in her educational life, she let out a long breath.
Beve and I took for granted that our kids would have great high school experiences. We did. We had friends who so informed our lives that we have never lost contact with them. Friends who challenged us to be better selves, who thought deeply, sought the Kingdom, and continue to even to this day. But none of our kids found friends like this in their high schools. E has one great friend from that time--and she was a church friend who became an everything friend along the way. A couple others who have grown into better friends. But nothing like the large group of girls I still think of as 'the girls'. Nothing like the group of guys Beve broke bread together with weekly back then, and talks to on the phone monthly even now. J also has two friends from his youth (not that he's ancient now). One from grade school, one from high school. Everyone else, even those boys he was so close to just five years ago, have slipped away. J wouldn't go back to high school to save his life. Not for all the gold in the treasury (admittedly, not as much as there used to be). And I wouldn't want to go through it with him. No way, no how.
And the large crowd of friends SK had? They moved on as well. This is how life works for most people, I know. And she has certainly developed life-long friends beyond the pine cone veil, as those who live there call Whitworth. An abundance of friends. A surfeit.
But in the last two weeks, all she's wanted was to be home with her family. Be home with people who get who Auntie Glo is. Who get that she's not "just an aunt", not some peripheral character on the edge of her life, but the auntie who sent meaningful cards, loved to watch SK sing and act--even just in the living room. Four years ago, when Glo was in the middle of radiation treatments for her brain tumors, we gathered for this exact holiday, and my girls, my precious, beautiful, thoughtful E and SK, sang "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns. It was the fall of Katrina and that song resonated with many people. But for us, it was all about Auntie Glo. Her heart to praise even in the most severe storms.
"I'll praise you in this storm, and I will lift my voice
For you are who you are, no matter where I am.
And every tear I cry, you'll hold in your hand.
You've never left my side, and though my heart is torn,
I'll praise you in this storm."
Those girls sang, Auntie Glo sobbed, and we all sobbed with her, at the storm in which she found herself, and the strength with which she faced it. I've been thinking of this song for the last two weeks, especially when I think of SK, across the state among people whom she loves, but didn't want. So she's home, and we're still praising God for this storm.
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