I worked on staff at a summer camp for five summers. I loved my fellow summer staffers, but not as much as I loved Norma, the sassy camp secretary. Norma was a retired school secretary and all business. Most of the college age staff politely said hi at lunch before sitting at the other table, but I sat by her on purpose. She would say awesome things like “It’s not hard to find a husband. Slap a little lipstick on, do your hair real nice and go looking for one.” She worked part time at the camp Monday thru Thursday so Thursday was her Friday. On Thursdays I’d ask “How’s it going Norma?” and she’d usually say, “You can’t hurt a Thursday.”
Wednesday is the unofficial last day of my week. I work Thursdays and usually take Friday and Saturday as a weekend (unless there’s a retreat, school activities or other work that I need to do) but Wednesdays when I finally kick the high schoolers out of the church, I sigh and it feels like the end of the week to me. You can’t hurt a Wednesday. If I’m not spent by the time youth group wraps up, I don’t feel like I’m giving it everything I have.
Tonight was one of those nights that reminds me why I’m here and what a privilege it is to be called to youth ministry. On Wednesdays, I see elementary kids, middle school kids and then high school kids in that order. It’s sorta trippy to see the life of the church mature from one group to the next. These high schoolers can pretend to understand the Bible and the lessons they’ve learned, but when I ask what a Pharisee is, they don’t know. They can’t describe the Holy Spirit. (Can you?) But they are passionate, they are watching and listening and they are starting to make our church their home. They’ll figure it out. They’ll get there.
They know about Jesus. I’m sure they’ve seen him on South Park and they’re too young for Dogma, but the Buddy Christ would be their picture of him. They are fascinated by the book Heaven Is Real and they know pop culture Jesus. We’re reading through John, about 1/3 to 1/2 a chapter a week and it’s weird to me, but I don’t know that they’ve put the picture together. I think they think they know what Jesus said and did, but it’s not coherent for them. I’m hoping it will be as we keep going through this.
The part that inspires me is their growing relationship with each other. The freshmen are beginning to be included. The juniors are taking the lead and initiating some stuff. They’re catching on that they can’t just be a high school youth group– they’re accepting that they’re part of a larger church body. It’s helping with the younger kids. We always have to kick out elementary kids from the middle school group– I’m not sure who’s sadder about it. The younger kids sadly look for their parents so they can go home and the older kids beg for one last hug and smile. Adorable! It’s talking to the older people. (“Wait… my ninja Lisa?” and about another lady when her name comes up–> “Aw… I love that old lady…”)
It’s uncool to say it, but I love my job. I love this part of life. I’m happy where I am. Please don’t tell people that. I don’t want to seem uncool, but you can’t hurt a Wednesday. (Not even if you buy yeast at the grocery store and it doesn’t make it to the kitchen so the whole yeast/bread dough/watch it rise thing is delayed due to your failure to line up supplies for the millionth time… not that like that happened tonight or anything.)
In workout news, I didn’t today. I could feel the effects of the moves the trainer showed me last night. I hurt everywhere. I didn’t drink enough water. I ate yummy unhealthy grilled cheese. I drank too much coffee and diet coke. You can’t hurt a Wednesday but tomorrow will be better. I’ll meet you back here and tell you about it. Promise.