The school year is coming to a close. Students have finals, papers, tests, projects, and presentations. They have yearbooks ready to be signed and teacher gifts ready to be given. Many of them have plans for summer trips/camps/activities/visits/fun. Unlike most years, this year has given me great pause. It’s reminded me how lucky I am to be doing what I do. How amazing the young people are that surround me. And, if you know anything about me, I get teary.
As this class of juniors is on the brink of becoming <<gulp>> seniors I have thought about what that means to me and my ministry. Each year at Southport CC (now Tapestry Church) I get to know the children and youth a little better. They grow and develop, and or shared time together increases. I learn about their quirks, their goals, what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, and I get to see their faith develop, evolve and transform. That last piece is definitely my favorite (faith nerd alert).
Next year will be the first year I will see a group of my kiddos graduate who I first had in Elementary school. Those Seniors were in 5th grade when I started. And though the group has changed slightly in terms of member composition over the years, they are a core, tightly knit group. And I am unbelievably proud of them, each for their own accomplishments and how they hold each other up.
All of this makes me think further. How will it feel when the next group, and the next group and so on? What about when the kids who were in 1st grade when I started graduated? What about the kids who were in preschool? It’s just incomprehensible to me. And I know the more years I have shared with these young people, the harder it will be to send them off to college or work or whatever the next stage of their journey is. It’s very humbling. And it makes me want to take hold of all of them and never let go.
I guess the true “test” is seeing the ones who have come back after college. That is heartwarming in so many ways. I am feeling very fulfilled, and gracious for the experience God has provided through my call.