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In 2018 I ticked off an important item on my bucket list. I finished high school. It took me two years and during that time I learnt a lot about my fellow students.

Most people at TAFE are on their second time around. There were young mums who left the baby with grandma. Some students had case officers who were trying hard to keep their clients out of jail. Meanwhile a smattering of old people, like me, were fulfilling a lifetime dream.

What I remember is starting the year with 30 classmates and by Easter looking around to see ten survivors.

Resilience is not what it used to be.

One day I came across a classmate who was visibly upset. She was approximately 20 years old, painfully thin and dressed in op shop clothing.

Over coffee she told me her story.

Her mothers boyfriend didn’t like her. I admit she had a sharp tongue and would not have been easy to get along with. However, after a few weeks she was asked to leave and find her own way in the world. Her cousin gave her a couch to sleep on. But one night the police raided the house and took him away in handcuffs.

Now she was homeless and ready to give up her dream of going to university.

I listened to her story and when she finished I asked her a simple question.

“Would you be willing to do one more thing before you give up?”

I sent her upstairs to the welfare unit where they found her emergency accommodation. In time they introduced her to a flatmate who eventually became a good friend.

Our graduation was a celebration of hope over despair. When the young lady’s name was called we gave her a standing ovation. Even our English teacher brushed away a tear.

I do not know why one person has resilience and another does not. If I did, I would put it in a bottle and make a fortune.

But I do know that God is on your side. Before you give up, wait on God. You are not alone.