It doesn’t happen often but there are some moments that completely change your life. They tend to be unexpected and something you never could have planned for. They may knock you to the ground, push you out of your comfort zone, and possibly make you recognize some very real truths about yourself.
Standing in a high school gymnasium years after I had graduated surrounded by strangers was one of those moments for me.
There I was with a room full of high school kids standing shoulder to shoulder on a blue line. As statements were read out loud we were asked to cross the line and move to the other side if the statement applied to you.
Have you lost a parent? I crossed the line
Have you been affected by someone who uses drugs or alcohol? I crossed the line
Have you lost someone in your life due to a terminal illness? I crossed the line
Have you ever been put down by another female? I crossed the line
Have you or anyone you have known run away from home? I crossed the line
Time after time, I crossed the line. There were statements that were tougher than others. Ones I didn’t want to cross for but knew deep in my heart they were true. What made it easier was seeing that I never crossed the line alone. There were others who had gone through what I had. Others who had survived and made it through.
Yes, that is what we all are. Survivors of LIFE. Life has this way of throwing things at us. And some of them bring us to our knees. Yet somehow, someway we survive. We make it through even when we think we never will. We overcome. We stand up and we keep moving forward. We may not know where we are going, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we keep moving.
There are so many things I have moved through. So many things I have survived. I didn’t even realize the magnitude my heart was holding until I went through this exercise. Yet here I am. Still standing. Still loving. Still opening my heart and inviting others in.
I am years beyond high school. And many of these students have experienced things years before I have. Yet there they were. Standing. Loving. Thriving. They were an enormous source of inspiration. They showed true strength, courage, and love.
This experience has changed me. It has shifted the contents of my heart. It has provided me an opportunity to see how far I have come and show gratitude for all I have been through. My heart has expanded. And I have been reminded that it is important to give others a chance because we never know what anyone else is going through.
If you ever have the opportunity to volunteer for Challenge Day I highly recommend it. I was given the opportunity to write a blog post for them and then I got to experience it first hand and my goodness my heart has exploded. You will be blown away not only by the program but how incredible our youth is. There is much to be hopeful for. There is so much love, generosity, and kindness. It will open up your eyes and make you realize how amazing this world truly is.
I encourage you to take the leap and volunteer if they are in your area. You will be forever changed.