Rumley: An open letter to local high schoolers
Happy New Year, young Padawans! I am going to keep this short because, well, I know you. I’m the father of two of you — and soon to be three. At times, like right around finals, I know that you can really focus for long periods of time. But most of the time you like things short and sweet and to the point.
So here it is — you are loved. More people love you than you probably know. I hope it is from your parents and siblings. I trust it is from your teachers. I can go on naming more people who serve this community who love you, but you get the point. You can choose to believe this, or you can blow me off. But is your choice.
Now with that stated, I want to say two things to you. One is about life in general, and one is about you. And if we get these right and combine them together, it will give you a good state of mind from here on. Oh, and I write this to you because I too love you. And over the past several years, I have watched you and your friends and quite frankly I just have to say this.
One, life is not epic. There I said it. We live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. And we have much to be excited about living in the valley. So do not hear me wrong, but life here in the valley and anywhere you go outside the valley, here on planet Earth, is not epic.
There are epic moments. There are epic weeks, months, and even years. But life is not epic. Life is full of ups and downs and the ups may last only a short time. The downs may last a long time. And guess what, that’s OK. You have to learn to live your down days with joy — sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as I have been taught. You have to live your up days knowing that it won’t last forever. They are meant to be enjoyed and remembered and passed on.
But that sweet day on the mountain ends at 4 p.m. for the most part. So, remember this. I learned this last year: “Life does not go sideways; it is sideways.” Things do not go the way we planned. Some healthy people get sick. Some young people don’t grow old. I am not a pessimist. I am a realist that sees both the beauty and tragedy of life. And I see that life is ordinary with epic days, not epic with ordinary days. So, enjoy your ordinary life with its epic days.
Two, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are not a beautiful snowflake. Seriously, you’re not. As unique as they are, they fall, melt and go back into the rhythm of life.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Did you catch that? You are made. You are not a product of chance. You were made special and your parents know that, even if they try to educate in ways contrary to what I am saying.
I am pretty sure most parents, when they picked you up on Day 1, did not say, “Look at my little ball of chance, I hope he or she makes it in this epic place.” There are exceptions, I get it, but most parents, whether they said it or not, were thinking, “This cute lil’ squirt is fearfully and wonderfully made.”
And because of this fact, your life is worth living to the fullest and at your best. It will be an ordinary life with extraordinary moments. Don’t shoot for second best. Don’t settle for mediocrity, that’s not what I am saying. But even if you do not land on the moon or make the cover of Time for Person of the Year, you have value.
You have value and you will do some epic things. Because you are made special, and your life is of great value, even when life’s tough and boring. Tough moments shape our lives. Boring moments force us to be creative.
Life is not epic, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Now, go make the most of your beautiful, wonderful, ordinary life.
Judd Rumley is the lead pastor of Redeemer Eagle Valley. He is married to Ashlea, and they are blessed with three children. Email him at email@example.com.
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