I stared at my laptop screen with blurry eyes, touched by the words my youth group had written about me.
Someone had sent out a survey thing, asking us to write 1-3 things we appreciated about each person in the youth group. The results for each person were compiled and shared with them.
A friend and I talked about it a bit, about how we should do it again, about how it’s so easy to take each other for granted but how we are so blessed.
And I’m sitting here now, wondering how to explain my thoughts and feelings, while my vision insists on blurring every now and then.
I love my youth group.
I’ve technically been in youth for eight months, but thanks to the quarantine, I’ve only experienced it for about six months. But man, what a six months it’s been.
We’ve gone camping together, both by ourselves (with our sponsors) and with the whole church. We had a hayride/fall party, and packaged Christmas Shoe Boxes. We’ve played lots of games (mostly Spike-ball, but volleyball, Kick-the-Can, Swat and Name-Swat, and several others were enjoyed too). We had a volleyball tournament (with just our group), and played volleyball with two other youth groups. We’ve had meetings, get-together-for-suppers, and a spur-of-the-moment gathering. There’s been a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and jokes and teasing and roasts, serious moments, conversations, etc.
I’m related to almost everyone in my group (and in my church), but even the ones who aren’t related are beginning to feel like family. I don’t know some of them very well, but I hope that’ll change.
It’s so easy to take them all for granted. I mean, I’ve known some of them all my life.
But I’m so blessed.
There’s lots of people around my age who don’t have many (or any) friends–at least, not real and close ones. But me? I have over twenty people I hang out with a lot, and even though we roast each other A LOT, I believe we’d all be there for each other if we needed to.
And it’s not just my youth group. It’s my whole church.
I’m pretty sure there’s going to come a day when I’ll have to leave. I’ll most likely get married and move to my husband’s church and only return to my church for visits.
And I’m already dreading it.
This little church is the only one I’ve ever known. It’s here where I’ve played and gone to class and sung and listened to lessons/devotionals/messages and prayed and talked and enjoyed the food on fellowship-lunch-Sundays and participated in Communion and feet-washing and heard testimonies/praises and so many other things. I was baptized into this church, took my instruction classes in one of its small classrooms. I’ve watched my congregation grow–in several ways. This is a place where I’ve laughed and cried, fought and made up, lived and loved and learned. This is where my Family is.
And I know. The Family of God is all over. A home can be found/made in other churches. There’s more to life than staying in places I’ve always known with people I’m comfortable with. But I’m still going to miss it, when/if I leave.
This may sound almost depressing, like “oh, I’m (probably) going to have to leave this wonderful place and these amazing people!” I guess it is, a little; but what I’m trying to get at is, well, this:
How [blessed] am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.A.A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
Abba God, thank You for my church family, for my youth group, for all the wonderful people I’m around. Thank You that “family” is more than just those who are biologically related. Thank You for blessing me so much, so abundantly, so overwhelmingly–even though I don’t deserve one bit of it. Help me to never take others for granted, but to always be thankful. . . and to let them know that I love and appreciate them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.