Have you heard of cassette tapes?
They were these plastic rectangle things that went into another really big plastic rectangle called a boom box. Then when you pressed the play button on the boom box, the cassette tapes played whatever was recorded on them.
There was this long, thin, stringy, film-like stuff inside of the cassette tapes that held all the music. Sometimes it would get all tangled up and you’d have to pull it all out of the plastic rectangle.
THEN, you’d have to stick your finger in this pencil sized hole and turn it until all the long, thin, stringy, film-like stuff went back inside the cassette.
You could never just start at the beginning of a song.
You had to REWIND it once you listened to it.
And it took forever.
And you had to wait and wait and wait and wait.
Then, the song.
Sometimes, though, my little brother would get into my cassettes. And he would pull out all the long, thin, stringy stuff. He would get all wrapped up in it and bend it and break it and ruin it.
And no matter how many times I tried to roll it back up…it was ruined.
Do you feel like that?
Like there’s this tape inside your head that keeps playing and rewinding and playing and rewinding…and all the bad stuff just keeps coming back?
You wait and wait and wait – and hope that this time you can forget.
But it always plays again.
You can’t get rid of the hurt. The pain.
There’s all this long, thin, stringy stuff in your head – and it’s all messed up and wrapped around you and bent and broken. It feels like everything is ruined.
My senior prom there was this guy.
He made me a cassette tape. Only it was a special one.
When you put lots of different songs on it – we called it a “mix tape”.
On the tape he put one of my favorite songs – Richard Marx.
“Right Here Waiting.”
But there was more.
In the middle of the saxophone solo, his (the prom guy’s) voice came on the tape. He recorded his voice over the music and asked me to prom.
There was this voice inside the tape.
And if I wasn’t careful – and listened to the whole thing – I wouldn’t have heard the message. But I had to ignore the music part and listen to what he was saying.
It was super important. A secret message. But a beautiful surprise.
Right now I need you to ignore the tape.
The stuff that keeps playing and playing and playing.
It’s really loud, I know.
But I’m trying to be the voice inside the tape.
And you need to listen to the whole thing. You need to listen to what I’m saying. It will be a beautiful surprise.
You are worth it.
If you were in my class, I would tell you I don’t ever want to see your seat empty. There is so much I can learn from you.
High School is super short.
In the span of a lifetime averaging 80 years, high school is only 5% of your entire career as a person.
The people who hurt you, the loneliness you feel, the pain in your heart, it will pass. I promise.
I want to wrap my arms around you and tell you all the things.
All the things I see in you that you don’t see in yourself.
All the people who would miss you if you were to leave that seat empty.
All the beautiful life things that are awaiting you on the other side of this struggle.
Say it out loud.
Tell someone about the dark parts, the secret parts.
It will help you to speak the words.
You will feel like you can breathe again.
We all have dark parts, secret parts.
And we need to share them together so they don’t crowd our heart
and steal the joy.
Find something you love.
Read a book. Blog. Play. Listen to music.
Write it down if spoken words are too hard.
But get it out.
You. are. not. alone.
I have 17 years of teachering under my belt.
And I can testify that high school does not last forever.
You will grow, change, forget, move on.
You will laugh again.
But you need to tell.
There’s no shame in telling.
And if it’s not you, it’s your friend talking about the dark stuff, TELL.
We are meant to live, meant to breathe,
until our lives are taken by natural, not our own, causes.
You have a purpose.
A big one.
It’s gi-hugic. Gigantic huge.
And it starts now.
Send a text. A message. Make a call.
Your new journey starts now.
It’s right here waiting for you.
Just like my secret message in the mix tape.
This message is for you.
And you call pull all the long, stringy, filmy stuff out.
Wrap it up and throw it away.
Let’s not play those tapes anymore.
Your worth is not determined by those tapes.
You are just full of worth.
Right where you are.
It all starts.
Thank you, sweet friend, for reading this. It was meant for you TODAY. Please comment and share your heart – but first, share your heart with someone who can help if you need it.
You are LOVED by an unconditional God. You are NEVER alone. He has not left you and He is beside you right now. I prayed over this post. I prayed for you. Joy is coming for you, dear one. Joy is coming.