We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” ~e.e. cummings
A dear friend and mentor posted this quote on Facebook last week. And it hit me … hard. This quote gets right to the core of who I strive to be. I’m no longer a youth ministry professional. In fact, I’m not directly involved in any kind of youth ministry right now. But whether or not I sign-up as a youth ministry volunteer or not – I will, forever be, a faithful adult.
The same day this quote was posted, I had lunch with a high school friend of mine. She’s the one that wrote that incredible poem I posted last week. The one I talked about when I discovered the wonder of God in an unexpected place. At lunch, we chatted about life. The good and the bad. New opportunities and existing challenges. And as I listened to her teenage life, I promised myself to remain a faithful adult to her. Forever.
Just a few days before, we were visited by two college students. Two students who were in their early days of high school when we first met them. Students who are no longer high school youth, but have become incredible young adults. Young adults who are making a difference in the world around them. Young adults who are living their faith in big ways. We couldn’t be more proud of them. And honored to remain in their lives. As faithful adults. Forever.
And as the week came to a close, yet another college student came to visit me. She was in town for the Passion Conference and decided to stop by and say hi. If there is one youth who has affirmed my call to ministry, it’s her. She was never at a congregation I served, but instead I walked with her through synod youth events and leadership opportunities. I will never forget the day she looked at me and said, “You were meant to do this.” As a high school student. I was ecstatic for her to stop by and visit a while.
These are just three stories of the many. The youth and young adults I hold dear in my heart. The ones I push to go a little deeper. The ones I try to help see just how incredible they are. Because you see, that’s what being a faithful adult is all about.
It’s about being present for them. Where they are. In their lives.
It’s about honoring who they are. Where they’ve come from. Where they are going.
It’s about consistent reminders of who they are, and whose they are.
It’s about checking in at the most obscure times. About praying for them, unceasingly.
It’s about believing in them. Even when – no – especially when they don’t believe in themselves.
Whether or not I ever go back to professional or volunteer youth ministry … I will strive to always be a faithful adult to youth and young adults I come in contact with. Because that’s what other people have done for me.
And because that’s who God has created me to be.