Yesterday, at the end of the Sunday School hour, I had the opportunity to sit in with the 7-12th grade class. I arrived just in time for the sharing of highs and lows. As we went around the room (filled with 19 youth!) we heard about life, about school, about joys and struggles that we had experienced within the last week.
When it got to me, I was ready for my low: My root canal. It was easy to come up with it, because it is still so fresh in my mind...although, I have to admit, the roughest part was waiting for the Novocaine. (I'm such a wimp!) As several days have since passed, my mouth feels just fine. (phew)
The high that I shared was from Saturday, when I was blessed to spend the day with Rosalie...we crafted, decorated, made pizza, ice cream floats and rice crispie treats. A stellar day....which was topped with the discovery that drinking a float with 2 straws is much better than just one!
I realized, in hindsight, that I had many other experiences that I could have shared with the group.
Last Thursday I had one of those all encompassing ministry afternoons.
I was preparing myself for a meeting with Paige to hear about her senior project which was a reflection on her trip to the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans this past summer. (It was just July, but it feels like it happened a year ago.) As I sat listening to her reflection on the experience I was moved to tears. This trip was truly a life-changing experience for her. She shared experiences and words from the speakers that have touched her heart and are calling her to let Christ's light shine...to make a difference in the world. She is an amazing young woman with so many gifts to share with her community and the world....and this past summer she had the opportunity to hear that she is a child of God and is called to be a living part of God's world. (How amazingly awesome is that?!?!)
As Paige left I had the opportunity to talk with a parishioner who is currently in Alaska. Her husband has taken ill and is in the hospital. As we talked and prayed...I tried to offer comfort and hope to her over the phone as she sits on the other side of the country. It is so hard to face challenges on our own...even with strong family ties and strong ties to their family of faith here at Trinity, sometimes we still feel alone. I continue to pray that they feel and see God's presence in their lives in the midst of the challenges they are facing right now. As I hung up the phone I was in tears....I wanted to reach through the phone lines and just hug her and be with her.
These are those moments...full of joy or full of struggle, that I not only face in ministry, but that all of us face in life. Maybe they aren't literally back to back, but each of us sees and experiences highs and lows....and moments where God's presence is crystal clear in the moment....and other times when we are led to ask why things happen the way they do....and why there isn't something I can do or God can do to make it all better right away.
Whatever those moments may be....and whenever they happen to you....may you know of God's presence in your life....and be reminded that you are not alone.
***I should also add that after the Sunday School class shared highs and lows, they prayed together. If you have the opportunity to share highs and lows with your family or friends, I encourage you to end that time in prayer for one another.....help share those joys and struggles with one another and with God.