Who can exaggerate the importance of high school senior year experiences? So much happens "for the last time." The senior has been in school two-thirds of life with his or her life evolving around school. If that experience occurred at one place in one school system, he or she spent two-thirds of life (to that point) associating with a core group of acquaintances and friends. Graduation "destroys" that association by sending people in all directions. Every event of the senior year is a "bigger than life last time occurrence."

Eons ago, when I was a senior in a small high school (with less than 20 graduating seniors), an event of enormous importance involved class rings. Many families faced stressed finances. Only seniors ordered rings. The school placed those orders. The rings' arrival was a moment of enormous importance! No senior should be denied the "right" to have a class ring! This "forever" possession was an essential "right of passage" to be worn a lifetime. I suspect some families made big financial sacrifices to purchase a ring.

I wonder how long most people wore their rings? For years mine slumbers somewhere out-of-sight. Have you seen anyone older than 30 wearing a high school class ring? Perhaps, but it is not common.

Was that ring truly important? That depends on when you ask the question. If you ask a senior (at least when I was 18), yes, it was. At that age, it was life's essential possession. Decades later, it was not life's essential possession--no way!

For many years, with me (and I suspect for many others), it has been an unimportant possession. In the past forty plus years, my life (and yours) has faced many "new" realities. "New" realities diminished the importance of the ring's reality. The value of the ring did not change. New realities changed my perception. The ring's significance diminished because its place on the list of life's realities changed.

This understanding does not focus on the possessions and events of high school seniors. It focuses on total life events and possessions at every age. The ultimate event will be meeting God "face to face." When this occurs, how many "urgent" and "extremely important" physical matters instantly will become insignificant?

By the way, have you looked at your high school yearbook lately?

Congratulations to our seniors! Seniors, for you, life is beginning, not ending!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 19 May 2002

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