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Posts Tagged ‘metamorphosis’

One of my favorite parts of working in high school is seeing the metamorphosis that occurs as teens grow and mature in their relationships with their peers.

It can leave a residue on my heart, that, over the years, has changed how I related to students.

There was a girl who was choosing poorly. She had given up on the ‘childish’ things she loved, things like sports, her youth group, books and schoolwork. She was mentally moving to the wrong side of the tracks, and on that wrong side was hanging out at the mall, friends who brought her down, premature dating and exposures to chemical substances.

She was only twelve.

For the next three years she chose the ‘dark side’ and, ironically, that dark side started to gray her appearance. Her make-up became darker, her clothes became darker, tighter and more revealing, her attitude became darker, and her personality became darker.

Her marks slid, her reputation with peers was negative and she was ‘pegged’ a hopeless case. Sadly she was probably pegged that hopeless case a long time prior, as her home situation was a rough one that could make it difficult for her to see and dream of hope for her future.

Then, as school began for yet another year, this young lady ‘looked’ different. The shadows were disappearing, and were being replaced by a brightening, a lightening of her appearance. Her make-up was lighter, her clothes were lighter, looser more modest, her attitude, her personality seemed cheerier, happier, lighter.

That new school year she tried out for a sports team, she walked with a smile, instead of a scowl, and she began to make efforts to connect with a different, a more hope-filled, a more future-minded crowd of peers.

It does not always happen this way, but that different, more future-minded crown of peers, welcomed her in. They accepted her, and invited her to be part of them, to be one of them.

Her life began to show signs of hope.

This story is one that I created from a combination of many stories I see walking the halls of high school every day. It is a story without knowledge of the ending as we do not know where the life of an adolescent or teen might go.

What we do know is that the life of a teen or adolescent is like that of a tight rope walker. They might be headed along on the straight and narrow, but at any time they might lose their balance. The resulting fall call be fast, hard, and with long lasting consequences.

When you see a teen you know, say hello to them, ask about their weekend, their plans for after school. These simple, natural interactions, accompanied by silent prayers for the life, the heart, the soul of that individual, can be the bright spot in an otherwise dark day for a teen. Be intentional in noticing these developing souls as they prepare to emerge from their adolescent cocoon as a moth or a beautiful butterfly.

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Another Friday, at the end of a long, tiring, work week. It was pure joy just to be finally able to say “it’s Friday.”

As it was Friday, there was chapel, so we all filled into the gymnasium to take our seats, record absences, and settle in for whatever was to follow. Today it was a video, called ‘The Butterfly Circus.’

The video starts out with epic music (by British born, Canadian resident, Timothy Williams), the sort of score that makes you heart leap and fall as it enters your senses. It is a beautiful score that makes you want to keep watching.

This short (twenty minutes) movie is set during the Great Depression, when the external circumstances of the lives of most people cause feelings of hopelessness. This movie is not about hopelessness, but of hope. The hope is unleashed by the Butterfly Circus, a circus that does entertainment differently, with no side shows of the unusual, un-normal, and untouchable. It is a circus that, like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly, is about the internal change to a state of beauty, hope and redemption.

The line in the movie, that stays with you when it is over, is said by the circus ringmaster, Mendez, “The greater the struggle the more glorious the triumph.” He says this to Will (Nick Vujicic), a man with no arms and no legs. For me, though, the most poignant line came just prior to it, when Mendez repeats the line Will’s previous ringmaster said that first introduced the two, “but you, cursed from birth. A man, if you can call him that, who God himself turned his back on.” Then Will yells back, “Stop it, why would you say that?” And Mendez responds, “because you, believe it.” And tears fell, with abandon, down my cheeks.

What lines do we hear in our heads? More specifically, what LIES do we hear in our heads? The things that we have heard all of our lives, and, we believe them. Things like:

“you are ugly”

“you are fat”

“you can’t …”

“you are stupid”

“you are hopeless”

These lines, these lies become self-fulfilling prophesies. They set the course for our lives. Not because they are said to us, but because we believe them. And because we believe them, we avoid resting in our cocoon, to await the oncoming transformative process that allows us to be re-born into the body, into the life that was always intended for us.

Let me share a few lines of TRUTH, to counter the lies:

“you are justified (made good)” (Romans 5:1)

“you are redeemed and forgiven” (Colossians 1:13-14)

“you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:25)

“you are chosen by God and precious to him” (1 Peter 2:5)

you are a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9)

“you are God’s special possession” (1 Peter2:9)

“you are blameless before God” (Ephesians 1:4)

“you are free”  (Galatians 5:1)

And I say all this (truth) to you, hoping that you (and I) will believe it.

“So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;

what is old has passed away–look,

what is new has come”

2 Corinthians 5:17

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