This past winter, My dad and I embarked on our road trip with big imaginations and tentative plans. While the whole trip didn’t go exactly as expected, that wasn’t always a bad thing. We found that the joy and adventure came from the unexpected. We had a chance to gather experiences along the way rather than simply shape the trip around what we knew and trusted.

The business that my dad operates was short a truck this winter, so we needed to buy a new one. We found the perfect truck. The problem: It was in North Carolina. So, we deliberated for a whole two days, and decided that, why not? It’s just a week of school right?

So we flew out to Charlotte, picked up a truck we’d never actually seen before, and drove it across the entire country with a few added detours, just for the fun of it. We took it relatively slow, and made a list of all the places we wanted to stop by and see.

My high school career started out much like our trip did. With no certainty of what was to come, I had to find joy in the uncertain, and take comfort in the background that had set me up so well. This wasn’t always easy.

Sometimes on a road trip, you find yourself broken down in a place you don’t know, asking people you don’t know for help, and not knowing if you’ll be able to make your way home. In our case, that breakdown happened in the middle of the night in Savannah Georgia. If you’ve ever been to Savannah, you know it’s not the nicest place to be in the middle of the night with no vehicle. But hey, by the grace of God, we made it okay. We took a taxi across town to an auto parts store that just happened to have the right parts. And my dad woke up early the next morning to put the whole thing in.

My high school breakdown happened during my sophomore and junior years. Halfway through my sophomore year, I was diagnosed with severe exercise-induced asthma. I had always struggled with running and other cardio-based activities, but this turned out to be the breaking point. On the surface, asthma attacks seem like a physical problem, and once that’s resolved, life moves on, and everything is fine. However, especially for me, it went deeper than that. My junior year was marked by a couple severe asthma attacks, and as each one came and went, I became more anxious, more scared, and more frustrated with myself.

At this point, my “strength” of adaptability did little but make me more upset. I was supposed to be this “flexible” person, able to handle situations as they came, and here I was, losing sleep over something I couldn’t control.

This is where LC comes in. At this point in my high school career, my grades were falling, I wasn’t sleeping, and I was basically a jerk to anyone who came and talked to me. Yet, despite all of this, my friends and teachers, and even teachers I had never had, were always willing to help me with whatever I needed. They helped me prepare for tests, catch up on what I missed in their classes, and were even there to vent to if I had been having a rough day.

So, in the middle of this “breakdown” that would could have damaged the course of my “road trip” through high school, Lynden Christian lived up to it’s name. By the grace of God, and the help of the people here, I survived those two years, and came out stronger than before.

Now, if our road trip had been all breakdowns, we never would have gotten to the end, and we would have missed seeing some amazing sites. The fun and adventurous times made the whole thing worthwhile.

The same rang true for my time here at LC. During high school, I never really had “my people.” I didn’t play league sports, I didn’t do FFA, I wasn’t in choir, band, or orchestra, and I definitely wasn’t an actress. But, in a way, I was able to participate in all of these.

One of my strengths is “activator”. This means that I’m always ready for action, I like to ask when we can start, and according to Gallup, I believe that action is the best device for learning. So, I got involved.

I never was an official member of FFA, and I didn’t raise pigs, show at the fair, or take any tests at state, but the people included me anyway. I even got this sweet sweatshirt this year. I got to help in the shop with wreaths, help set up for dairy foods or ag mech practice, and even spend most of the school day setting up for the banquet. (Don’t tell Dr. K).

I never competed in track, but I did get the opportunity to help for a few years. I got to mark javelin for meets, and it’s probably the most fun thing I have ever done. It was such a great way to get involved, help out, and talk to people I wouldn’t normally talk to.

I’m not good at singing. Or dancing. Or acting. I have zero talent in that department, so I didn’t even think about getting involved in drama. However, my freshman year, I got involved in some of the work in the tech booth for chapels. From there, I became involved in lights for plays and musicals. I’ve been involved in a total of 8 productions over the past four years, as well as dozens of concerts and other performances. This all led up to my senior year, where I was given the opportunity to be an assistant director for our musical, Mary Poppins.

Throughout my time here at LC, you can see that I’ve found a home in many areas. I was given the opportunity to simply be involved. The greatest part about being at our school in particular was that I didn’t have to be great. It didn’t matter to anybody whether or not I was the best jav marker they’d ever seen. It was a strange adjustment for me to make, but it ended up being very freeing.

I grew up in a family that pushes for excellence. No matter what we do, it’s important to work the hardest, be the strongest, and become the best. That mentality is a good thing. It has pushed me to be the best I can be. The problem is, there’s a point where I can only do so much. One of my strengths is Restorative. It means that I like to solve problems and be on top of things. When it turned out that I wasn’t the best in all of the things I tried, I had a bit of a complex. This is where LC made a difference. None of the people in any of my activities even cared. They didn’t care that I wasn’t the best. They didn’t allow me to slack, but they gave me the grace to be who I could be, and didn’t come with the expectation of anyone else.

However, there is a detrimental side to this. Even though I wasn’t always expected to be the best here. I was expected to be involved. The most common advice I got before coming into high school was, “get involved.” While, in theory, it is really nice to be able to be part of what’s going on, I took it too far. There were times that I would come home and break down because of all the stress that I was under.

This was mostly my fault. I was the one who signed up for a super tough class load, and I was the one who said “yes” all those times when people asked me to participate. But to be honest, I wasn’t given much of a choice. In our school, those who don’t participate don’t find “their people.” Those who don’t find their people are left on the outskirts, and I wanted better for myself.

Just because I got involved in lots of things, doesn’t mean that I had the perfect experience. There were times when being too involved was definitely a detriment, yet the experiences I got to have were worth it. They were so worth it.

One of the best, and saddest parts about being on a road trip is coming home. For me, “coming home” in high school actually looks more like leaving.

Next year, I will be attending Corban University, in Salem, Oregon to study Business Education. I’m excited to see what my future holds in a new place. While I’m not totally comfortable with the idea of leaving everything that I know and love here, I can have confidence that I’ve been given everything that I need. Without the presence of Lynden Christian in my life, my future would probably look a lot different. This has been quite the adventure, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.