Another graduation announcement arrived at our home.

Ellie is graduating from North Valley High School.  She has used her time in high school well: graduates in the top 5% of her class…president of the Honor Society…participated in choir, drama, Brain Bowl and Speech & Debate…first place in 2016 Academic Masters regional competition in Social Studies (1st in 2015, 2nd in 2014).  She is an artist, musician and scholar, and will major in Anthropology and minor in Peace & Social Justice at Pacific University this fall.  Besides her “accomplishments”, Ellie has one of the most beautiful hearts you can imagine.  She is kind, encourages others, takes time for people. (The fact that she was one of my preschool students does not make me prejudiced at all!)

I looked at the news on my cell phone this morning:  AP, CNN and BBC.  After reading all the anger, sadness, abuse of power, conflict and fear, I picked up and read Ellie’s graduation announcement…again.  At once my heart was lifted.  It is young adults like Ellie who will be leading our country, searching for peace and justice.

What I am bugged about this morning, is that we seem to love to focus on the negative, rather than on amazing young people like Ellie.  This is a woman who make a difference in our world…already has, I should say.  Ellie has been a positive influence on her campus, in her family, and on those of us on the periphery of her life.  She has influenced me by her kindness, her laughter, her perseverance, her ready smile, and so much more.  We will probably not read about her in the paper or on AP, CNN or BBC.

Ellie was raised in an Orthodox home (Russian Orthodox, I believe).  She will need God’s help (protection, perspective, strength) to not become disillusioned in college.  I have already begun praying for that.

Thank you, Lord, for Ellie.  Thank you for the privilege of intersecting with her life just a little bit.  Thank you for what she has done and for who she is.  Thank you that you have made her your own, sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.  Remind me to pray for Ellie and for the many hidden sparks of goodness.  And, please, Lord:  protect Ellie and provide good companions for her at Pacific University.

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