I remember hearing the news of an eighteen year old girl, Maia, who had taken her own life. She was a gifted artist, and her paintings reflected the depth of her soul, but she lived in a society that does not honor soul. This creates a huge void for adolescents, who are deeply in touch with theirs.
We can be there to help the homeless, we can be there to help those who have been battered, we can help the handicapped and the physically ill. We have support groups for menopause and childbirth, and yet not only do we not acknowledge the tumultuous changes that come with adolescence, but our society tends to regard that group as an undesirable minority.
They are mocked for the way they dress, the way they talk, and the clothes that they wear. Their viewpoints are often not taken seriously, or valued as important input in the home, the school or the workplace. They are often treated in ways that would cause any other visible minority to react with outrage.
When they try to express their frustration about these things, we call it adolescent rebellion and dismiss it. We tell them that they don’t know anything about the real world. No wonder that some of them choose not to continue living in our world. The real world for them is their world.
May Maia’s last act reverberate throughout our hearts and souls, creating an aftershock that will jolt us into the awareness that the pain of not being truly seen as the magnificent, wonderful beings that young people are, is a violation of their souls.
We must awaken to the fact that adolescence is a birth into adulthood, and we must honor and celebrate it in the same way that we do the passage out of the womb. We cannot focus on intellect and life skills, while abandoning the soul.
Let us make this shift a deep and profound resolution. To every young person who reads this message, just know that you, yes you, are an incredible human being. Regardless of outward appearance, grades or material possessions, you are a beautiful work of art, produced by the master of creation.
Your essence is like an unforgettable melody that can be evoked in the presence of those who are open to hearing it. There are people on the Earth who are just waiting to hear it, who are looking for you.
If you feel alone, know it is only because you have not yet found those kindred spirits, but you will. It might not happen until you’re 20 or 30 or 50, but it will. But you must keep your own unique melody sounding, so that those who need you, will find you.
You must learn to love and honor yourself, regardless of how others treat you. You are precious, just because you exist. You are here because God picked you to be on his team, and you have a purpose to fulfill in this lifetime. Please don’t ever lose sight of that, even if you don’t yet know your purpose. Maia, blessed soul, we have heard your message, and we will act on it. May you now rest in peace.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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Thinking for Yourself (Empowerment for Youth)
Coping with Loss