Michelle Martin

Better things

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Our youngest child graduated from eight grade this year. She has the distinction of being the only one of our three who attended the same elementary school from her first day of pre-K until she walked out, diploma in hand.

It was a great celebration: There was a dinner-dance for the graduates the night before commencement, Teresa was one of the student speakers at the graduation  ceremony and she had a solo for a verse of the class song. She was proud of herself, and rightfully so.

What I hadn’t counted on was how emotional not just the day but the weeks leading up to it were. As much as any 14-year-old wants to move on, not be seen as a child, gain independence, all of that, it became very clear to her that she would be leaving a place where so much of her childhood happened, where some of the faculty and staff have known her since she was literally in utero, and it was a little scary and a little sad.

You might think she focused on the highlights, that she tried to relive the big moments, but that wasn’t so much the case. It was more, what if that’s the last time I ever go to my friend’s house to play? Will I still do stage crew for drama in high school? What am I going to wear to school now that I don’t have to wear a uniform?

Really, it was: Who am I now? Who will I be in the future? Who will my friends be? What will I do?

Another reminder that change, no matter how welcome or how necessary, is hard.

I reassured her as best I could. I’m not always the best at that; I tend to want to see things realistically (my husband says pessimistically) and then if they turn out better than I expected, it’s a bonus.

But I told her that, as great as the past years have been, and as much fun as she has had, there will be great things and fun times in the future. I can’t tell her exactly what those will be because the future doesn’t work like that. We can and should plan, to the best of our ability, but we never know exactly what’s coming until it gets here. But whatever it is, I’m certain she did not peak in grade school.

Here’s the thing, though. If we take seriously our belief in salvation, if we believe Jesus when he said he went to prepare a place for us in his Father’s house, then we have to believe that there are better things ahead for all of us, even if we are long past high school.

We have to believe that we were not made for this life, or not just for this life. We are here to live the best way we know how, to learn and to love God and our neighbors, but in the end, we were made for better things.



  • family life