The Kids are All Right
I never aspired to be homecoming queen. My best friend from childhood was on the homecoming court in a "nice people" coup de tat at my high school senior year, but really I was too weird, prickly, and awkward to have a broad spectrum of my graduating class either admire or actually like me. Instead I was the mermaid on our class float because no one else wanted to be and I loved creating costumes.
But my Tessa, youngest of my girls was voted homecoming queen and "nicest girl" in her senior class. All of my kids are exceptional, not for their achievements, which are many and varied, but for their desire to be faithful. It manifests in each of them differently, they are after all very unique human beings. Sam is a crusader for justice in his quiet, understated way. Sophia, driven to be excellent at everything, and yet unwilling to run others over in the process. Riah, creative, tender hearted, and a Hobbit-in-training, looks at the world seeing beauty and wonder in every living thing. I am awed at their growing and deepening knowledge that to be faithful is often a difficult and messy proposition. There are no clear cut good guys and bad guys, but instead broken humans in need of our patience and kindness and often undeserved love. Truth and justice never come at the expense of love, as St. Paul said, "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13
Tessa was not homecoming queen because she is the kid who fits into the crowd and doesn't rock the boat. She doesn't really wear make-up, doesn't date, isn't on social media, doesn't have a smart phone (she shares a flip phone with her brother). She serves at the elementary school during her study halls and here in NW PA she led a memorial service in solidarity with the students of Parkland FL high school shooting advocating effective gun control. She has extended herself to try to be friends with all the kids even the ones she disagrees with and models kindness and civility to her teachers and the faculty. She is fiery and feisty and opinionated but above all else she has love and humility.
When she was announced as queen, out on the football field, I could see her face, it was so solemn. She accepted her crown hugged the outgoing queen took the arm of Max, the king and walked to the edge of the field all with that fixed expression. Then as she neared the crowd of cheering girls she burst into tears disappearing into the crush of pom poms and bouquets. She sobbed that she didn't deserve it and that her friends are all so wonderful. The sweetest part was to see her friend Haley who is a great girl but one tough cookie, with her mascara running, weeping for joy that Tessa had won.
The night of the homecoming dance all the homecoming court's parents were invited to the dance and the first dance was with the parents and the court. I'll be honest it seemed a bit weird, but it was sweet to see the boys and girls with their moms or dads. As soon as the dance was over, up went the volume and out the door we left, but I know that Tessa spent the evening keeping an eye on her brother and enjoying her time with everyone there in a community where she knows everyone and is known and loved.
"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:11