Tanner Stevens

March 6, 2017

It was a difficult summer.  I started the fall with a serious medical concern, where I wasn’t sure whether I would ever be able to run again. As a cross country coach, this was not the vision I had for my life. Fortunately, my medical troubles were able to be solved, but in my recovery process, there were five people that were either close to me, my family, or friends that had left the earth for a better home.  First was one of my students, a graduating senior from the class of 2016.  One week later was my father’s unexpected death at age 56 while competing in a triathlon.  5 days later, the priest who said my dad’s funeral, a relative of mine, died peacefully.  Over the rest of the summer, two close friends had one of their parents pass as well, one sudden and unexpected, one after a long fight with cancer.

Through all of this loss, I was able to see and appreciate the meaning of our lives on earth here with a bit more urgency and purpose.  My dad was a great role model to me, and among the many things he taught by example was to live your life being the best person you can be to all those around you, including those who are often forgotten.  For all of my friends and family members who have experienced loss, I now know what they feel, how they ache, and how even through that wretched sorrow, there can be hope and new light.

Through all of this, God has given me an amazing gift of peace.  While I still break down in sorrow from time to time, I am comforted and reminded always that God is with me through this.  While I may not have planned to lose my dad before he was able to see his first grandchild, I know that God’s plan for his life and for my life is greater than I can understand.  I hope that through the loss of my father, someone can grow to become a better version of his or herself.  I have chosen to make that my life’s goal as well, to honor my dad and to give the world the love and compassion that is so desperately needed.

I would love to be a resource for anyone who is going through loss or struggle in their lives.  I have been through trials in my life, and I want to help others as they go through their own trials.  My door is always open, and I feel that God is calling me to help others through situations of struggle and trial in their lives.  You are not alone, both in spirit and in your relationships here at school.  Our community is here to help, all you need to do is ask.

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