At my youngest son’s school, they have a senior retreat. Spread throughout the year, it is a four day opportunity to bond with a group a young men, get grounded in your faith, and be able to contemplate your future away from all the distractions. My husband says that it was the greatest part of his high school experience. I, too, experienced a great deal of spiritual awakenings while on my retreat, so I am excited for Bryce to go.
Bryce opted to go in January to accommodate his football schedule, but my nephew, who is seven months younger than Bryce is going next week. Part of the magic is getting letters from your loved ones. I think I used a box of Kleenex while I read mine. So, I sat down to create my letter of admiration for this young man.
My screen was blank for a while. I thought this would be so easy. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything wonderful to say, it was the overwhelming feeling of “how can I fit everything I want to say on one page” and also, making it appropriate. After all, these were being emailed to the school, so you know people are reading them. Plus, I like to write like I am on SNL and my humor probably would not be appreciated in this context.
After about thirty minutes, I mastered the letter. I put in things like “don’t let your circumstances define you” along with “loving him like he is one of my own”. I have four kick-ass nephews, but this particular one is like another son to me. He and Bryce were like brothers instead of cousins. Now in high school, they are walking different paths and creating their own experiences. Even though, they don’t see each other a lot, there will always be a special connection between those two.
When I came home from my senior retreat, I remember feeling nostalgic and grateful. The music of Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called To Say I Love You” flowed through the room as I walked in holding hands with my best friend. I could barely see through the tears. I was a delightful daughter for about 48 hours and then the euphoria wore off. Even with that being said, my senior retreat was a powerful experience.
So, I hope that both my nephew, Bryce and all the young men going on retreat find a greater sense of faith. I am so grateful that I have four months to write Bryce’s because that letter is going to be even tougher to write.