Dear High School (and present-day) Friend-group,
Wow. One year ago from this very date, our lives were changed forever. On May 15th, 2014 we took pictures, smiling in red shiny robes laden with ropes of colors that represented all of the organizations that allowed us to make memories, and we pushed worries to the back of our minds for the camera. We knew that everything would be different from that point on whether we wanted to admit it to ourselves or not. No longer would I get the comfort of walking down the hall to one of your lockers or looking forward to another day of lunch with you all. No more parking lot after-school talks or Jonah's pizza runs. After that night, we all would be going to different schools in different parts of the state and we didn't really know what was next. On May 15th, 2014, a piece of my heart broke forever that I let no one know was missing.
Now, one year later, I still get to be blessed by your friendship. I see that even though we may not see each other every day like we used to, we always make time for a reunion. I know now that just because graduation is long over doesn't have to mean that our friendship is too. That, I believe, will never end. And as I look at the 2015 graduates to see how they are handling this phenomenon, I notice a lot of differences in our friend group than most others and I just had to tell you all:
-Thank you for being there with me. Some of you I had been friends with since forever. Some of you I met Freshman year. Some of you I got close to Senior Year. All of you had a lasting impact on me. A lot of growing up happens in high school and I'm so lucky I got to do it with you all. On days I thought were the "worst days of my life", I knew I had someone to lean on. On days where I was over the moon, I was able to accept "congratulations" from you all. I never once doubted that I would receive support from you all.
-Thank you for being Jesus to and with me. As I said, a lot of growing up happens in high school. I see status after status about parties for the graduates and remember even my last few years in high school where I was often ridiculed for not taking part in the party crowd and I am forever thankful I had a group of people who supported me the entire time. Instead of going to bonfires with alcohol,we had bonfires with s'mores, Jesus, and parents. I can't count the number of times I was able to have in-depth biblical conversations with you all and that really stuck with me. When most kids talked about nothing with their friends during lunch, we organized a 30 minute devo/worship session for our high school. Instead of curse words, old Spongebob quotes filled our mouths (I can't believe I just wrote that in a somewhat mushy blog post...). Even the summer before we went to college when most kids were out getting sloppy, we spent our Tuesdays at a church in Nashville, worshiping together. I could go on and on here, but the point is I am thankful I had a group I could be an "outcast" with. I had good people with good intentions. I never once felt pressured to do anything and that is HUGE. I don't know how it would have been had I never found my way to you all, but I sure am glad I did.
-Thank you for continuing to want to be in my life. As I said before, I know now that we still get to see each other and hang out. That's huge to me. I'm so grateful that you all consider me a big enough part of your life to continue to want to invest in me. I look forward to our "reunions" any chance I can get them.
I was blessed to have walked the halls with you all for four years. I am more than blessed to continue to have you in my life. I catch myself laughing over an old joke or something funny that happened a few years ago constantly. My memories of us from high school will never fade. My experiences of us from now until we are too old to physically see each other will never end. Love you all, thanks for being there.