I'm beginning my third year as an Other-Than-Youth-Ministry-Coordinator- that's hard to believe. I love my current job and am not ready to leave it, I have no stirrings of wonder or urges to wander at all. But I sure do miss Youth Ministry.
This week Scott is at Catholic Heart Work Camp, and every night he calls me to tell me the best stories of the day. There are so many. CHWC is an excellent organization- they know what they're doing and offer a powerful combination of discipleship and social justice work with high-energy praise and worship and deep and meaningful faith development opportunities for their participants. This week Scott has experienced again that thing that makes a YM's job special: the honor of being able to witness the growth and deepening of faith in young people.
I think that the best YM's are at their best in retreat and camp settings; it's a chance to get away from the everyday with your kids, a chance to have the blessing of a significant amount of time with them. It's object-learning all day, and down-time where you have, literally, nothing else to do but hang out together. These are things YM's wish for all the time, and try to create at the parish, but rarely get to do. At home, ministry is often done on the fly, when you get the chance.
Every YM strives to be relational, and weekends and weeks like CHWC really give an opportunity to live that out.
So I'll admit it, I'm flat-out jealous of Scott this week and the other YM's that are there, or somewhere, away with their kids. I'm so happy for him and love to hear the stories and I know I'll be moved by the obvious differences in the faces of the kids from before they leave to their return home at the end of the week. I'm proud to be on the staff of a parish that cares enough about youth and about evangelization and service to support this kind of activity, too. But there's a green monster burning in my heart, jealous of a missed opportunity to be a part of that kind of ministry. I guess that's how I know that my calling to YM is still there- even while I'm on this side-road, I think it must be true that eventually I'll be back in that game- and there will be, I pray, many weekends and weeks like CHWC to come for me and my future kids.