Thursday, July 11, 2013

Look up and smile!

I turn Pandora on to my Michael Buble station and Jason Mraz's "Living in the Moment" starts playing. What an appropriate song on this very day, at the precise time; this moment. I am living in the moment that is today, that is now.

For those of you  who can speak "youth ministry" or any ministry for that matter, including your daily job, role as a parent, CEO, whatever...--OK, OK, maybe I am stretching it-- you can appreciate the term "be here now." I include our mundane daily tasks in the same category as ministry (and why not?!) because if you closely look at the definition of the word ministry you might be surprised. My favorite definition (brought to you by your friends at Webster) is "the act of serving; ministration; one that serves as a means; an instrumentality."

The act of serving... ahh, I get it. Instrumentality. We are an instrument. Of what, you ask? Well, I for one am pretty sure to be an instrument to facilitate conversations around issues in higher education and access, the need for leadership development in our youth and the impacts that has in a school's culture and of sharing this awesome thing, often difficult to explain, that is the charism; this ministry.

My friends are instruments of change, of motivation, of love, and they do it all by being loyal and faithful to their vocation. Their vocation, their ministry is in the classroom, in photography, as a science teacher, a chaplain, a youth minister. They know their mission, their role in this world, in this world and how it beautifully and intentionally touches everyone they encounter for the betterment of this world. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it's true.

My team, and yes, it's MY team and I am proud of each and every gift and talent they bring to the entity that is TEAM. The collective energy, passion and commitment to build community among these adults who give their time to help shape the spiritual development of hormonal teenagers is admirable. It's also equally as fascinating as it is terrifying. I mean, c'mon, we are talking about 16-17 year olds. Can you say DRAMA. ;) You know what, we love it.

With a hodge podge of personalities ranging from a high energy extrovert, a quiet, yet hilarious planner, plus a mom-type so full of love you just want to cry in her arms when levels of stress hit all-time highs, we are one. Add to that years of tradition and an overarching feeling, a presence of the most holy watching all over us. A force that lives and breaths inside these walls. Are you there God, it's me Jess and we are at LIFE? We are getting ready for the adults to learn the program so we can then teach the kids. We are ready and we thank you for being here with us. We feel it, we know You are here.

In other words, we are here now. We are here, physically, spiritually and it is manifesting in our ministry.

Here's the thing, this is all very bitter-sweet for me, for I am on my last summer retreat as a coordinator. How to describe what ten days of prayer, community building and spiritual development for adults and teenagers, have meant to me and change my life, forget it. We'll need a bottle... or two! ;) It has been too important in my own faith journey, as active and progressively fluid, it has been an anchor. This experience has held me down, anchored my beliefs and helped guide me to the light in times of the blackest darkness in life. LIFE saved my life, I have often said. It also "sucked" the life out of me, jokingly confessing.  I have been lucky. I have been blessed.

One of my co-workers once told me a story (and I think I wrote about it once before) about sometimes looking up at the sky and for as moment, pauses and smiles. I too, often look up. Whether it's a cloudy sky, or as blue as the "Bonnie Blue" flag (GWTW reference, thank you very much! ;)), I smile.  I say thank you. I chuckle and feel like I am getting winked at. I look up and smile because I got a little wink from heaven. ;)  Thanks, G., I know you are there. I know you are listening. Thank you for letting me your instrument and allowing me to do your work.

Now... to what life, not LIFE, will bring after July 20, 2013, I say... bring it! ;)

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