You will never forget 2020 and no one will ever forget the class of 2020. The highlight of your school career, your for-old-times-sake year, has become a sad year. You are experiencing so many ups and downs and mixed emotions. It changes between anger, sadness, having a thousand questions, being without hope and feeling discouraged. There are some surprising moments of joy in between, but they are few and far apart. You have to deal with all of these emotions in one day, often within a few hours. Sometimes it is very overwhelming. What is happening? Is there something wrong with you? One moment you feel like crying and then you feel like screaming!
The one word that will help you to understand everything a little better is the word LOSS. For a long time you have missed all of your friends = loss of relationships (admit it, you even missed school and your teachers). Your last year of school has, while you were sitting at home, slipped through your fingers like sand – uncontrollable and unstoppable. That last hockey-, rugby, netball match or mountain bike race for your school never happened – regardless of whether it would have been for the first, second or third team. You wanted it so badly. Some of you had dreams of winning leagues, provincial colours in sport and all of those dreams are now unfulfilled. You were excited about being in the choir for one last time, taking part in the debating competitions, orchestra and other cultural activities. That is in the past. Your head boy and head girl year has not worked out the way you thought it would. You had so many dreams.
Do you now understand your LOSS? It is huge. It is in no way small. It cuts deep. Have you spent time to sit still and jot down your losses, to call them by the name? Have you made time to talk to God about these losses? (your Father is waiting for you.) Have you made time to talk to your father, mother, best friend or favourite teacher about your loss. Have you made time to GRIEVE? That is the only way to get through and over a loss. Look it in the eye, name it and afford yourself the opportunity to grieve, to be heartbroken, to be angry, to ask questions and to eventually make peace and move on.
However, you can’t, may not and will never in your life be a victim. There are too many victims in this world who got stuck in the past. Victims always end up being bitter and angry. Victims look behind them and forget to dream. Your losses are true and horrific. That is why you are allowed to and why you must grieve over them. Give yourself the time and space that you need to do this in a healthy way.
Learn from the “matriculant” in the Bible: Joseph. His story in Genesis 37 starts when he is 17 (that is why I refer to him as a matriculant) . He experienced great suffering: brothers who first wanted to murder him, then assaulted him and eventually threw him in a dried well that was deep and dark. He was sold, taken to a strange country, gets sold again and ends up in jail even though he was innocent. Talk about losses! Talk about suffering and feeling discouraged. His story does however start with dreams – dreams that God gave him. You see, if you hold on to God’s dreams and chase these dreams, you might end up where Joseph did: The second most important person in Egypt. God’s dreams for you are only starting now. They do not end in 2020. No, keep on dreaming with your Father. Yes this is a horrible year – that is the reason for using words like loss and grief. You are, however, not going to turn into a victim and stop dreaming. The next twenty years of your life are years of great excitement and importance: studying, work, getting married, having kids and settling yourself in life. Wow! Get those dreams that God is dreaming about you active and back in place.
Use 2020’s suffering and losses to learn valuable lessons about life – It won’t always be easy. Use 2020’s life lessons to develop a character filled with determination, dedication and trust in God. The class of 2020 might just be ahead of us all in a few years from now, all because of the lessons learnt in 2020. Your life-fitness might just be superior because 2020 was one long and steep hill in your life race – this is excellent for forming character.
Read Jeremiah 1 verse 5 and make it relevant to your life, make it personal:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
God has not forgotten about you. He has known you since before your birth. You are devoted to Him. He has been dreaming dreams about you for many years. Don’t let a difficult 2020 derail this. No, use it to give your Godly dreams momentum.
A wonderfully beautiful future awaits you. Even though I might not know you, I can say these things to you because I know our God and our Father.
My heart hurts for you… but, I also feel very excited about your future.
With sincere love