I am writing this morning from a place of grief. Seems like a heavy place to start, but the truth is, my heart is hurting. 

Yesterday, I heard the schools in Indiana have officially closed for the year. When I heard the news, my heart grieved for my friends and their children.

I realize this will probably be our reality, and the reality for most—if not all, of the children in this country soon.

School is out for many, and will more than likely be for us, and spring and summer vacation have melted into one long stretch of time.

It doesn’t feel like the start of summer though. The usual anticipation and even the madness of May that is so often grumbled about, will not be happening this year. There will be no end-of-the-year parties or awards ceremonies. No senior prom or 8th grade dances. Preschool and kindergarten graduation ceremonies won’t be commencing. And college students who have worked so hard to receive their diploma, are in college no more.

And for this, my heart grieves.

For the kids who have put the years and sweat and time into their sports and are no longer playing. For the performances that will not have a standing ovation, or an audience at all. For the teachers who are not able to say goodbye to their students. For the coaches who won’t have a chance to lead their team to victory.

Last night, I realized I will probably never be driving my daughter to drop her off or pick her up from middle school again. Next year she will be in high school. Her middle school years abruptly came to a halt, but she never had a chance to walk down the halls for the last time, to have her yearbook signed, or to say goodbye to her teachers and friends before walking out the door.

There is something about having that moment—the moment you know is your last, that has a value I never fully realized until now.

There is something about the anticipation. And the grief. There is something about the preparation leading up to that moment, the acknowledgment of it, experiencing it—and then moving forward.

So many of those moments won’t be happening now.

And this is why my heart is heavy. This is why I grieve.

Today, I woke up and realized this is the weekend my daughter was supposed to be performing Frozen, Jr. at her elementary school. She was going to be Sven. And I know she would have been both adorable and amazing. I wish I could give her, her friends, and their director, the standing ovation they deserve.

I have not felt much sadness. I have felt some anxiety and I believe some disbelief, maybe even denial about what is happening—but the reality of what this means for my children and for so many others has really hit home.

And the sadness came with it.

I find comfort in the knowledge that we are experiencing this collectively. We are all grieving loss on some level. For some, more than others.

I know God is up to something. I believe part of the experience of the missing and the longing and the goodbyes that never happened will hopefully be that we cultivate an attitude and a culture of gratitude. Things that were taken for granted, and once complained about, can be seen as gifts—instead of as burdens.

As we move forward, after this period of isolation, maybe we will choose to fill our calendars less—but to fully embrace those things we have the privilege of participating in more?

This morning I saw this video on YouTube of James Corden wrapping up #Homefest with Ben Platt and the cast of “Dear Evan Hansen” performing You Will Be Found. I love this musical and this song—and this moving performance of talented musicians singing from their homes, and coming together to create this video—moved me to tears:

This is how I see my friends and my loved ones now, in boxes on my computer and my phone while we Zoom and FaceTime. And I think something about that made this performance even more powerful. I didn’t know the last time I hugged so many of my friends and family members or saw them face-to-face would be the last time for a while.

I didn’t know the last time I dropped off and picked up my children from school or practice would be the last time for a while. Or in the case of my daughter at middle school, ever.

None of us knew. And even if someone would have told us, I’m not sure we would have believed it—or fully comprehended what they were saying.

Whether you find yourself in a place of joy, grief, anxiety, sadness, contentment, longing, or whatever else you may be feeling today, know this—you are not alone.

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
When you’re broken on the ground
You will be found

So let the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found (You will be found)
You will be found (You will be found)
You will be found

Out of the shadows
The morning is breaking
And all is new, all is new
It’s filling up the empty
And suddenly I see that
All is new, all is new
You are not alone
You are not alone
You are not alone

(Lyrics from You Will Be Found, “Dear Evan Hansen”)

P.S. These are strange, TOUGH times. We love this shirt in the Her View From Home Shop as a reminder that no matter what we go through, He is stronger.

 

Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson is a freelance writer, preschool art teacher and mother of four with a heart for Jesus. Her work can be found on a number of blogs and parenting publications. Recently relocated from Indianapolis to Nashville, Tennessee. She is a passionate storyteller and believes every person has an important story to tell. We grow when we share. And even more when we listen.