Thank you Taylor Swift by Robynn
All summer long our youngest daughter has been dreading entering the eighth grade. Seventh grade wasn’t a positive experience for her. She really loathed it. Friendships changed. She bravely tried out for tennis and basketball but didn’t make the teams. She ran for student council but didn’t win the position she hoped for. It was a year of serious disappointment. Anyone who knows this kid, knows she processed all this pain and heart ache out loud, at home, all the time, with me. It was a really hard year. None of this endeared her to the prospect of another year in middle school.
Before the school year was even out she presented a fully developed PowerPoint presentation on why we should take her out of school and begin immediate homeschooling.
In May I received a phone call from a lady named Erin. Erin indicated that she was calling from the state of Kansas’ online education office. She was calling to speak to Bronwynn Bliss in response to her request for information. Bronwynn was across town enduring the last weeks of seventh grade, I was home receiving her phone calls. I was afraid Bronwynn wouldn’t be able to come to the phone.
When school let out in May, Bronwynn, waited three or four days before beginning her discernable dread of returning to school in August. We heard about it all summer long. She couldn’t possibly return to school. In her mind a conversation would convince us. Passionately she presented other options: Catholic school, private Christian school, online school, homeschool, another local middle school. She created pros and cons lists, ranking each entry with a score, adding up the results, doing the math. The results, mysteriously, always revealed that she couldn’t return to school.
On the last Friday of the summer I was sick in bed with a residual migraine that would not lift. Bronwynn camped out next to me and began her pleas with greater vigor and determination. The poor kid knew that summer was coming to an end. Her time was running out. She was trapped and in greater and greater anguish. Pulling out a fresh page in a new notebook she began her lists again. There had to be a solution and she was bent on finding it.
Sunday afternoon, in the middle of the growing agonies, flowing tears, knowing looks, we got a simple text message from a friend, “Would Bronwynn want to go to the Taylor Swift concert with me in September?”
That’s all it took! Taylor Swift saved the day. Bronwynn went from dejected to delirious faster than an Aston Martin One-77 can go from zero to sixty miles an hour! Everything changed. Hope was in the air. We had something to look forward to beyond the horrors of the present realities.
Emotionally I felt like I was strapped into a roller coaster going at unnatural speeds, taking head jerking turns and twists. She had gone from tears to squeals. Her personality morphed right in front of my eyes. She had been transformed, converted, changed. Suddenly. In the blink of a text message. I was astounded and if I’m honest, a little whiplashed!
It struck me that there is great value in having something to look forward to. The mundane is monotonous. Routine often seems to rip up our happiness. Our real lives are marked with pain and frustrations. The news from around the world is bleak. We slug it out, day in, day out and it feels like the joy seeps out with the day. We push past ‘hump day’ (Wednesday) to the weekend but even our weekends seem bleh: yard work, errands, laundry. Having something further out on the horizon to look forward to seems to change everything!
There is coming a day when all will be well. Things will be set right. Peace will be restored. Beauty and order and loveliness will be reinstated. It’s a day just past what we can see. We have to live through this week, and the next, and possibly a few more but the day will come. The promise of it gives us something to think about in the midst of what we currently endure. We can fix our eyes on what is unseen and get through what we see, up close, relentlessly in our faces all day long. Somehow—and this is pure mystery—that upcoming day gives hope to this day. It infuses today with meaning and a sense of purpose. It gives us something larger than ourselves to look forward to, something beyond our own particulars to anticipate.
The Taylor Swift concert was all it took! Monday midway through the day, Bronzi casually sauntered through the kitchen, “I think I’m ready for school mom.” As she continued out of the room, I literally felt myself reel from the effects of emotional vertigo. I held onto the kitchen counter and breathed a steadying prayer of gratitude. Thank you Jesus for Taylor Swift. Thank you Jesus for our friend who thought of Bronwynn. Thank you for hope and expectation.