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  • Writer's pictureitallstartsintheho

Not Just a Number

A few weeks ago, towards the end of the day, my daughter ran into my room with her cell phone in her hand with an open text message. She frantically read the raw words from one of her friends. Her friend shared that he no longer plays his spring sport (which he trained hard for) due to a fight with depression, anxiety, and much emotional stress. He went on to share that he has been in this battle for the last four years. My daughter didn't know how to respond. She has only known him for the last two years from being in the same class and figured he was fine. She didn't notice any "signs" to signal any issues, nor did he elude to any. He has always been very outgoing and friendly. She inquired if he spoke to a counselor or if his parents were aware, and unfortunately, he is not open to that discussion at this time. They continued their text conversation, and she expressed her gratitude for his trust to divulge his secrets but strongly encouraged him to speak to his parents, if not them, then a counselor. The conversation concluded with his expression of appreciation. My daughter and I sat in silence for a few seconds. We immediately started to pray for her friend and asked the Holy Spirit how we could intercede on his behalf. It deeply troubled both of us and brought a strong awareness of how this ugly illness is interrupting the lives of many, especially of our younger generation. How many more of our young people are fighting this invisible disease? How many are wrestling with this alone? Even with the many opportunities of support at our fingertips, the fight is an uphill battle. I'm thankful for this person's honesty and vulnerability. I'm sure it wasn't easy to do, but I'm grateful he took the first step to share his struggles. We have added his name to our prayer board and are committed to interceding for him. My daughter continues to check up on her friend to make sure he knows better days are ahead. I often pray for our next generation. Mainly because my kids, my nieces and nephews, and others I care for are part of it. I pray for them by name; however, I pray for others and categorically lump them as "the next generation." When I call them the next generation, I don't see a face; I perceive a number. And when I think of them as a number, I'm less sensitive to who they are. They lose the connection and void meaning. Sadly, when we visualize a number, we lose empathy and compassion. For example, when you recognize articles that include statistics and percentages, it might grab your attention for a moment; conversely, if you identify with someone's personal story, it captures your heart and stays for a lifetime. Don't be like me, and don't discern a generation as just a number. Give them a face. Know them by name. Make time to pray and intercede. ____________________ (Insert a name) needs us! We can all make an impact on the next life at a time.

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