Tonight I had the honour of presenting some of the awards at our school's Grade 8 Awards Night. As the board chair I'm somewhat expected to attend, and it's my pleasure to be there. It's delightful to see how far the kids at Holy Cross School are progressing, and the deep friendships they've made over the past 9 years in the school. The board role is necessarily a hands-off one, and the rare moments like this when I get a glimpse of the camaraderie between the staff and students make the nitty gritty behind the scenes work very much worthwhile.
Watching these early teens walk stiffly up to the stage to receive their awards, arms pressed to their sides, and wearing fancy clothes that don't always fit their growing bodies properly, made me wonder if I was the same kind of awkward little 14 year old.
Looking back through my yearbook from then... apparently I was.
But my Grade 8 year was an unpleasant one. My social awkwardness began to reach a crescendo and even my classmates who had never had an issue with me before that year began to pick on me. I had no friends; none at all. My best friend had moved away after Grade 6. At recess I would sit under a tree and read my Bible, which evoked further teasing. It was after that year that my parents pulled the plug on public education and sent me to a private Christian school where I made friends again.
This is difficult to write about, and me facing this in this way is my transforming moment for today. Seeing all those kids at the school today made me realize what I had missed. I found myself scanning the class groups for the lonely kid - the one nobody acknowledged - and couldn't spot any. I thank God that in Holy Cross School, the friendship seems to have penetrated all levels, and I hope and pray that as these kids move on, they will continue to know true friendship and true Divine intimacy.