Two Moments Observed

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Two moments observed, one beautiful and both infinitely sad.

The middle school and high school kids in the town where I live start school at the absurdly early time of 7:20 in the morning. I often go for runs between 6:00 and 7:00 in the morning and so I often see kids on their way to school. Here are two things I’ve seen.

A couple years ago I ran through the parking lot and by the front of the middle school a mile from our home. It was 6:30 in the morning. There were one or two cars in the lot, but it was well before most teachers and students really arrived. As I ran through by the cafeteria, with it’s wall of soled windows, I saw a 12-13 year old boy sitting at a table. He wasn’t reading, or doing homework, or texting on his cell phone. He was just sitting. Staring at the wall in front of him.

Across the other side of the vast cafeteria, I saw another boy doing the same thing. Two boys. Obviously dropped off early because their folks had to get to work or something. Alone in the school, except for one another. Sitting hundreds of feet apart. Not talking. Not doing anything. Only staring.

A second moment happened just a few weeks ago. I was coming down a hill in our neighborhood and to my left was a beautiful sunrise. Orange sky, just enough clouds to provide stunning contrast to the deep blue of the sky. As I approached the bottom of the hill and continued to be awed at the sky off to my left, I came upon a bus stop at which three high school aged kids, two boys and a girl, were waiting for the bus. Their backs were turned to the sunrise. They each stood at least 8-10 feet from the other. They each were silent. They each just stared at the ground in front of them.

We often feel so alone. What comfort could we draw from the average people around us, if we’d only cross the room and start to talk?

“Man, it sucks to be here so early every day.”

“It sure does.”

What might we be given in the beauty of an orange sky and the company of others to share it with that we miss as our backs are turned, to the sky and to one another?