I love kids. Yes, kids... I could hang out with them all the time! Be silly. Run around like crazy. Ya know, be a kid.
But, teens?? Oh man. That's a whooooole other ball game. I have such a hard time connecting with them. I didn't grow up with older or younger siblings where I got to witness their teen years. I only have my own to go on! And... I don't remember much! And THEN to talk about God and Jesus and His church and all things Catholic. Oh, and make it sound cool and relatable.
Um... no, thanks.
Well, that's what I wanted to say. But, God wanted something different.
You see. I am part of my parish. I am part of the family. I have never been part of a parish before. Up to that point I really thought I belonged because I was writing my check every week, dropping the envelope in the basket as it went by, smiling and hugging the people I knew at the end of Mass. (Ha. Such a weird sense of belonging and being part of a family.)
All the while I was thirsting for community. I was complaining that I didn't know anyone and didn't have anything to do and had such a boring life! Oh... whoa is me.
|An awesome prayer service with the teens.|
I am me. That is all they need me to be. Even if I don't know what to say or have the right answer or say something they don't think is funny, I am being me. Genuinely me. I am there for them. Loving them where they are at. Praying for them. Living my life the best way that I can, so they are (hopefully!) being inspired to live theirs the best way they can, too.
Around the same time, I signed up to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. It had been on my heart for a while, and I was so excited to do it. I could talk about that in it's own post, and maybe someday I will, but for now I will say it is one of the most humbling things I am privileged to do. Seriously.
It's in serving my parish in this way, I realized something. I realized that the teens need to see me as an active member of their community. Of their family. I mean, who do they see mostly? The old people and the families... right? Let's be honest, not many of us single, young people are really that involved in our parishes. First, not many of us even have one where we are registered. We hop from one place to another, depending on what's going on. How cool is it when we see young people involved and serving their community? It's awesome!
And then I realized something else... everyone needs to see young people involved. The more they see youngins', the more they will realize we do care. We are invested. We want to be part of the family. We want to serve you.
So, as much as I don't think I am the youth ministry "type," I will continue go every week. I will continue to be awkward. I will continue to love them. I will continue to just be me. And serve... my family. My community.
All because God wanted something different. Does He want something different for you?