Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hope for the future

A few nights ago, Todd and the boy and I had the type of experience that reaffirms one’s faith in humanity.

We attended a talent show.

Now, it was no average talent show—it was a variety show featuring the many gifts of the middle and high-school age children at our church. And it was fabulous.

I, as usual, didn’t really want to go. I could foresee only another lost evening, more time away from home, more time at church… I dragged my feet a bit. But Todd had already picked up tickets, had told some of his students he’d be there, and I knew, in my heart, that if I went I’d be glad I did.

Boy, was I ever.

Those kids rocked. They sang, they danced, they did acrobatics and even performed some theatrical stuff. One amazing boy played the piano like a young Beethoven; another young lady pranced around the stage, coltish and lovely, leaping with joy. A street-wise boy slinked onto the platform and moved with such grace and natural rhythm that I knew, just knew, I’d see him on Broadway some day. Another big, beautiful gal sang a first uncertain, then bold and confident Amazing Grace that brought the house down.

And to match the incredible talent, our audience of many teenagers was appreciative and enthusiastic. In an era of ridiculous competition among our youth, this gathering clapped, shouted, whistled, and stood to applaud the acts before them. There was never a jeer, never a catcall, only genuine love and admiration for the performers. I’ve rarely been more proud to be part of a congregation of observers.

Most amazing of all was the cause: these kids, these gifted kids, were all performing by choice, for no other reason than to help raise money for themselves and their friends who are planning to make missions trips in the next month or two. The missionary students are volunteering portions of their summer vacations, and working to raise money, so they can go and work for strangers, for free—work merely to help others who are experiencing hardship.

Isn’t that great? Doesn’t that make you proud to be part of this country, of a God-fearing culture that can inspire kids to do something selfless, something of that magnitude?

I’m sure that in many ways, the kids I saw are still typical teens—I witnessed lots of texting at the show, as well as plenty of whispers and flirting. But mostly, I saw a shining hope for their future and mine.

And on the dawn of Independence Day, I wanted to share that with you.

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