Spiritual Practice

Yearbook Messages

Richard Maffeo

I don’t often think about my high school days anymore. The once meaningful influences that I had found in the halls of Far Rockaway High School have become faint memories. But recently as I prepared to sign a card for an employee who was leaving my work area, I felt myself suddenly transported to the spring that I graduated.

Graduation TS 93485652Excitement mounted as we moved through SATs, prom, and finals. Scores of yearbooks passed hands as we signed messages beneath our photos. Some people tried to be funny; others were serious. But most wrote with a certain sadness, knowing that we would probably never see each other again: “It’s been a lot of fun! Enjoy your life!” “I’m going to miss you! Keep in touch.” “May you succeed in all your future endeavors.”


The first year after graduation, I often read and re-read those notes. As the years passed, however, my yearbook ended up half-forgotten, buried between artifacts from other times. Yet every now and then when I stumble upon my yearbook by accident, I read over the hand-scrawled messages and wonder what happened to my friends. As I walk through the memories, I ask myself, “What about me? Have I succeeded? Have I enjoyed my life?”

As I sat in my office, holding my co-worker’s card, I realized how important a message could be. Best wishes and prayers from today may encourage friends who look for answers tomorrow. Those who soul-search often ask themselves, as I did, the important questions of life that most of us don’t take time to consider as we fight traffic, wash dishes, and go to school.

writing in yearbook2 TSP 92041283When I graduated, I didn’t know Christ. If I had, I’d like to think that I would have written something in my friends’ yearbooks that would have helped them in the future, such as: “Whenever I think of you, I will pray that you will find all that God wants for your life.” Had I written that as a teen in high school, perhaps one of my friends reading it today would lay down the book and pray: “God, have I found all that you want for me? If not, God, please show me.”

So as I looked at the card in my hands, I didn’t wonder what to write. The words flowed: “Whenever I think of you, I will pray that you will find all that God wants for your life.” Who knows the impact that such a simple statement could have on my co-worker’s life years down the road?



Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today.
Hebrews 3:13a (NIV)

TRY IT: The next time you sign a yearbook or send a note or a card, think about what you would like to say. Try to write something that will encourage the person now and in the future.

Richard Maffeo is a writer in San Diego, California.

—from devozine (November/December 2002). Copyright © 2002 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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