Kelsey posted this on her own blog last week. She has graciously agreed to let me repost it, and I'm thankful that our friend Heather captured some wonderful dance floor pictures that I could include at the end! (If you missed it, here's the post where I introduced Kelsey, and here and here are posts from her earlier this week. And here's Kelsey's follow-up to this post.)
Recently, I’ve heard a lot of reasons why I’m not going to prom.
That’s right, from other people. I just want to clear the air.
It was not an act of defiance. I am not skipping out on prom because I’m too cool or too hipster or because I think anything badly of the whole concept of prom.
It was not because my last boyfriend and I recently broke up and I’m too heartbroken to go outside. How lame is that?
It was not because I couldn’t get a date. It was not based on my own insecurity.
It was not because I am afraid of seeing people who I used to hold close to my heart there. I am not spineless.
It was not because my last prom experience was terrible. It was actually pretty decent.
It was not because my mom said I couldn’t go or because I am too tired or because of any other reason besides this:
I have something else to do. Something I have to do. Not because I am some sort of prom martyr, but because I have a passion. Because I am someone fortunate enough to truly love to do something, and even more blessed to know exactly what that is.
I should give a backstory. (I actually wrote my college essay about this)
When I was in tenth grade, I had my heart set on going to prom with this guy. Things didn’t work out between us, and he decided to take someone else instead, and that crushed me. I searched all over for a different prom to go to, and my mom directed me to one that my church was having for people with special needs.
Now I was scared of people with special needs. I thought they were out of their minds and dangerous. But, for the sake of being able to look pretty for a night, I went.
I loved it. I spent the night with some absolutely amazing people, talking dancing and singing and having a marvelous time. But the thing is, it wasn’t about me anymore. I threw aside my social inhibitions and focused on giving these wonderful, unappreciated people the fabulous time they deserve. Here is my original post from the night.
Person after person I encountered at joy prom confirmed this new passion I had unearthed. I love people with special needs. They are the most joyful and trusting and humble and lovely human beings you will ever meet, and they are so often looked down upon, when in reality they are people just like us who want to be seen as something more than their disorder. I want them to know that the love of Christ envelops them and covers a multitude of sins, and one way to convey that is to love them with a love that transcends all understanding - despite every social barrier. I could go on about this, but I’ll save it for another post. I’ve spent the last two years working with kids with special needs, making sure that they feel valued and loved and important just like everyone else, and it is undoubtedly something I want to pursue for the rest of my life.
I know what you’re thinking. This is just one of those human rights things that teenage girls get into. But this is no kony 2012 deal. This is a present issue that people are facing every single day, and I have a good bit of proof for you if you want it. This is something you can change, and really, something I can change.
So this year, I’m going to joy prom. I’m sure going to miss dressing up and looking nice and riding around town with my date and taking pictures and eating great food and dancing with my friends and staying up all night at a breakfast with my senior class. But I know that in 20 years, this time I had wont matter one bit. But the fulfillment I get from helping someone disgustingly undervalued feel like a prince or a princess for a night will last for far longer.
I am in no way condemning prom - I am merely stating the call on my life. My sacrifice is not for attention, and I do not write this to call attention to myself or to be dramatic - I simply want you all to know the truth. That I am not going to my senior prom because I am going to be partaking of my life’s passion.
Really, it’s no sacrifice at all.