The Hardest Days are a Privilege
On Thursday I pulled into a parking lot I’ve been in hundreds of times before and it felt like I was there for the first time. Parkside Collegiate, where I coach football and rugby, is suffering through the tragic loss of one of their own, and I had been invited to join with some of the students as they held a memorial for their friend in the school parking lot.
I simultaneously wanted and didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be there for the students I care so much about but I had no idea what I would actually say or do while I was there. As I walked across the parking lot I prayed - for wisdom, for peace, for words to say, for… help.
I stood with a group of students as they gathered to remember their friend. I got to talk with some of them, hug some of them, but mostly, I was just there. Later some of them came over to the church and we were able to talk some more. There’s a powerlessness in these moments that is so awful. I just want to fix the situation, to make it better. But, there’s nothing that can be done.
Days like Thursday… man, they suck, they’re painful, they’re awkward, they’re hard. So hard.
But, more than all of that, days like Thursday are a privilege. It’s a privilege when students reach out to you in a time of tragedy. It’s a privilege when you get to stand with them, cry with them, embrace them. It’s a privilege to be able to carry the hope of God into those darkest moments. It’s a privilege gained through hours on practice fields, and bus rides, over lunches and coffees, on retreats, and on missions trips. It’s a privilege I hope to never experience again.
Still, it is a privilege.
If you’re working with students and wondering if all the time you invest into relationships is worth it. It is. If you're wondering if all that time will pay off - it will. If you stick around long enough (and there are many benefits to staying long term) opportunities will come your way, doors will open. They may not open when or how you hoped they would. But, the moment that text/call/message comes in you'll know for sure.
Pray that days like Thursday never come for the students you serve. But work so that if they do, you’ll be the person they call to stand with them.