You Will Be Found, Evan Hanson…

I was so nervous for yesterday.

I took the chemo, lotioned up my with feet extra extra lotion, took some Imodium, Chinese herbs, packed my pills and herbs and water bottles, and off we went.

I emotionally was worried because I had just spoken to my friend who is in so much pain about an accident. I also discovered that my friend had passed from stage four cancer the day before, and we are all in shock because she never let us know it had advanced to that stage. She had trouble breathing in June, they discovered the brain and liver Mets, she was in a coma for a month, then comfort care, then she was gone.

That freaking fast.

That’s the thing. You may look good on the outside. Then suddenly, it all falls apart quickly.

So going to see a broadway show about teen suicide was not exactly my first choice. Frozen, anyone?

We took the train in and then walked to the theatre.

Then I was blown away.

Yes, there was a lot of curse words and I was chaperoning a Girl Scout Troop. But they have heard worse at school.

It’s about a boy who feels invisible, Evan…and another boy who had mental health issues and was a bully, Connor. Connor stole a letter Evan wrote to himself, and then Connor killed himself. Connors family mistakenly believes Evan was a best friend to their son, and Evan ends up going along and making up stories that help the family heal. There’s more to the story, but you would have to see it for yourself.

I was doing great, enjoying the unbelievable songs… and then?

Evans mom sings a song, and at the end, she sings over and over how mommy will always be there for him. The woman in front of me was sobbing. The whole theatre was sobbing. I couldnt even look over at Morgan. Another on friend passed me a tissue and held my hand. They knew.

I’ve gotten good at being present in the moment, so as soon as the song ended, I took a deep breath and stayed in the present.

The show ended, all the parents hugged their kids, the kids thought their moms and dads were weird, and I hugged the woman who was in front of me because she just needed a hug.

We went to Ellen’s stardust diner and it was a great lighthearted much needed meal with waiters and waitresses singing.

We practically ran to penn station and caught the earlier train home, and I was back by 9:30.

Rob had taken Quinn to get his Boy Scout gear for his big camp week, and they had a “Bro day”.

Madison stayed home all day to work on her summer homework. I practically begged her to come with us, but she said she knew what the show was about and didn’t want to see it.

I knew why once I saw it.

Madison is like Evan in so many ways.

I get so angry with the pressures on these kids.

Take the AP class!

Go to the community college class in eleventh grade!

You’ve got to get ahead!!

Be involved! Do sports! Music! Clubs!

Get a job!

Add on social media.

Add on parents who work all the time.

And we wonder why people are so disconnected and angry and feel invisible in plain sight.

Yet no one teaches them how much they matter.

How to breathe.

How to be kind.

How what other people think of you doesn’t matter.

How sticking your tongues out in pictures isn’t nearly as pretty as a smile.

And we wonder why we have had two mass shootings in two days.

It’s mental health, people.

Screw AP classes. Screw College classes.

Screw social media. Screw being on the best sports teams.

Check… on… your… kids.

If they can handle it, great.

If not, great. Find what they can handle and feel successful at and cheer them on as they go down that path.

I’d rather have a happy mediocre kid than a stressed out high achiever any day of the week.

Being invisible is a horrible feeling. As a stage four diagnosed person, I’m invisible to many groups. We are scary to early stagers because they don’t want to be us. So they ignore the pink elephant in the room. We are invisible to advocacy groups because they focus on prevention, and stage four people die so quickly they figure we are a lost cause.

Lost and invisible.

It gives you empathy for teens who feel the same way.

We need to help the lost, the broken, the weird, the stressed, the anxious.

There is a song in the play that hits it all.

“Have you ever felt like nobody was there?

Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?

Have you ever felt like you could disappear?

Like you could fall, and no one would hear?

Well, let that lonely feeling wash away

Maybe there’s a reason to believe you’ll be okay

‘Cause when you don’t feel strong enough to stand

You can reach, reach out your hand

And oh, someone will coming running

And I know, they’ll take you home

Even when the dark comes crashing through

When you need a friend to carry you

And when you’re broken on the ground

You will be found

So let the sun come streaming in

‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again

Lift your head and look around

You will be found”

We need more people to look around and reach out their hands.

Find the lonely. The broken hearted.

Play hide and seek and hug and love.

Teach your kids to be nice.

Popularity doesn’t matter in the long run.

Being kind gets you further.

Today, may we all find each other.

May we all go running to the ones who reach out their hands.

Let the sun come stream in.

Be found.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

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