Being right in the situation feels overwhelming. Do you keep going? Do you make a different choice? Is that time wasted?
Back 10 years ago, I thought the work I did with my youth group was totally wasted. I didn't see the fruits of my labor and felt like I hit brick walls at every turn. I didn't think I was meant to be in that place at that time.
Oh aren't we short-sighted sometimes. sigh. I was.
Several days ago, I ran into a young lady from that youth group at my gym. We had such a nice chat. I'd have been happy and left without another thought except how nice it was to enjoy her company after 10 years. (Sure we'd run into each other, but always in a rush.) Now I had the opportunity to see into her life again, meet the woman the girl had become.
As I left she stopped me. She told me how she had always wanted to thank me for the hard work of coordinating and caring for 48 people on the youth mission trip to St. Louis for the ELCA Y2K (youth gathering 2000.) She even told me that 3 other gals talked about that trip with her often through the years. She passed on a few simple stories I tucked away in my heart.
I smiled and thanked her for letting me know it mattered to them. I turned to leave. Maybe all those years ago weren't so wasted after all.
She went on to tell me that it had made a major difference in her life and the lives of the other young ladies, so much so that they still felt the effects all these years later. Their friendship cemented on that trip. They have supported one another through high school, college and now into the work world because of that youth group experience.
I stopped and turned back. I'd had no idea.
Did it affect your faith? I asked. I held my breath and wondered if I pushed too hard. Did it matter now? Who had this young woman turned out to be?
She thought about it. Not just a momentary pause, but a full take stock moment. Then she looked at me and said, Yes.
I realized how important it was to never expect change in the immediate present. I think we all want that microwave response to the work we do while we are in the situation. But maybe the ingredients need to steep a while to release all the flavor just like these girls needed to grow their friendship and mature. God gave 4 young ladies a little bud that blossomed into a lifetime of love.
Hindsight? Yes, it was worth it even if I didn't know and didn't see it at the time. Those brick walls I kept running into turned out to be building a safe haven for teens. The Master Mason knew what He was doing even though I couldn't see His grand design while I stood in the middle of it.
Have you ever experienced something like that? Tell me about it.