I went on retreat a couple of weeks ago, sort of a combined adult-and-teen retreat, sort of a leadership retreat, and I didn't want to go. I went because I've never been on this yearly retreat, and I love the retreat center they were going to, and my friends were going to be there, including one who'd never been on one before, and because I wanted to be with Scott.
But I didn't want to go. Usually on that weekend I spend my days at home, all by myself, working hard at long-neglected chores and reading and eating well and soaking up the sun, and I love that weekend of time by myself.
But I went like a good sport and really did enjoy myself. I know I've written here before that it's very hard for me to do Youth Ministry things while not being the Coordinator, or even, technically, a team-member, and I've held myself out of being a volunteer in the parish where I work as an adult formation person. But this time I went ahead and broke out some of my rusty old YM skills, and it felt great.
A lot of what we did was familiar stuff, and it's hard to do familiar stuff with someone else leading it, because they don't do it the way I would. But some of the stuff was new, and I tried hard to be-here-now in the familiar stuff as well.
I was reminded of the things I've long loved about youth ministry- the kids were so funny and their responses to God were so deep and sincere. Their observations were surprising and striking. They were generous with each other and took everything seriously.
And I was really reminded of the emotional quality of youth retreats. It wasn't like an old-school get-them-tired-and-play-with-their-emotions kind of thing, like they did when I was a kid. It was just... a lot of love. I could see kids turning to Christ and feeling loved and returning that love right in front of me. It felt, as it always does, I remember- it felt like such an honor to witness people falling in love.
Someday I'll be back in youth ministry, and I hope I won't forget this feeling of honor, and the value of emotion in ministry. It makes me happy to know I still want to go back to where God originally sent me, still have a heart for seeing Christ work in the hearts of young people.