August 4, 2021

Letter To The Editor: Time Well Spent

To the Senior students:

I can’t tell you what it’s like to have my senior prom taken away at the last minute.

I can’t tell you what it feels like to hear that my graduation has been postponed indefinitely… potentially cancelled altogether.

I can, however, tell you what it’s like to face adversity. I can tell you what it’s like to question every single thing. I can tell you what it’s like to ask a million times “why me?”

I can also tell you that this is no more the end than it would have been had you walked across the stage on that beautiful football field under those stadium lights with your friends, family, and hometown cheering for you.

I can tell you that Heard County is no less proud of you without a graduation than we will be if you have a ceremony.

I can tell you that there is ALWAYS, always, purpose in the pain.

All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. (Romans 8:28)

I can tell you that this little town is praying for this madness to end so we can send you off into the next chapter of your life the way you deserve.

We are praying that the teachers who poured so much heart into you each and every day get to see you off to your next journey. They’ve accomplished this too.

I can also tell you that if none of that happens, if there is no graduation ceremony, if Heard County doesn’t get to pack those stands, if your teachers don’t get to sit back and breathe the biggest sigh of relief because you made it, it will be okay!

For 14 years you and your parents have waited for your graduation day. You’ve waited for prom, senior skip day, graduation. You earned it. Now that’s all been snatched away from you at a moments notice and you’re upset. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

See life has a funny way of showing us how to appreciate the things we take for granted.

That dirt that you played with as a kid, there’s still magic in it. Those rocks you skipped across the lake will still go farther than anything else you’ve ever thrown. That grass still tickles the bottom of your feet. That tree is still strong enough to climb.

Remember the view from the top and how big the world below you looked? There’s still power in getting away from technology and walking through the woods. There’s still peace to be found laying on the trampoline looking up at the stars.

There’s still mouthwatering food coming out of grandma’s kitchen! There’s still things your momma and daddy have taught you. There’s things about fishing your grandpa wants you to know before it’s his time to go.

There is SO much good that can come from this. Use your time wisely. Don’t drown out the joy of the moment dwelling on what you’re missing out on right now.

When you look back in 20 years, that graduation ceremony will be irrelevant, those prom pictures your dad would have spent a fortune for will be tucked away in some box in a closet somewhere, your prom dress will have long been gone to a thrift shop for a very small fraction of what it cost you and your cap and gown that wouldn’t have fit right in the first place will be tucked away in a keepsake box at your parents house.

You’ll be digging through recipe books for grandma’s perfect chicken and dumplings. You’ll have flashbacks of the time you were learning to make biscuits and your grandmother told you if you were going to mix the dough with a spoon you didn’t have any business in the kitchen.

You’ll understand why your parents always told you “because I said so” and “do as I say not as I do.”

You’ll be thankful for the small advice grandpa gave you about baiting a line. You’ll do your best to remember all of the little things of ones who have passed on. You’ll want your kids to know everything you did and most of what you didn’t.

Nothing your facing right now is going to matter as much as you think it will in 10 years. Stop stressing it. Go outside. Be a kid again while you still have time.

Call your grandmother. She would love to talk to you. These are the things that are going to rip your heart out years from now. Use your time wisely; you cant get it back.

Emily Fomby Thompson

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Letters should include the writer’s full name, address and home telephone and may be edited for purposes of clarity and space. Only name and location will be published.

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