"What you leave behind is not what is engraved on stone monuments but what is woven into the lives of others." –Pericles
Tonight as I was working at TYM (Total Youth Ministry- the youth group at the parish I work for), I found myself looking around at the faces of these wonderful kids that I’ve gotten to know in the last couple years. I fought back tears as I realized that tonight was my last normal TYM night. Next week is May Crowning and the week after I won’t be able to make it because of finals week. After tonight, I will never again get to experience my small group with my wonderful kids (Juniors rock!). Also (and no less importantly), I will never again get to hear my wonderful fellow Core Team members give a talk about things that are so important to them (Aaron did a great job with JPII). This is an end to a very important, life changing chapter in my life and as excited as I am to move on, I find myself grieving to see it go.
I found myself looking back to the first time I met these guys and being amazed at how much has changed. Almost two years ago now, I walked nervously into Jason’s office looking for a boss and met this crazy, energetic guy who has now become a very dear friend. Then, I came (late) to a Core team meeting and met some of my dearest friends. Patty, Travis, Brenda, Allison, Aaron… I thank God for you. Then I came to my first TYM night and was greeted with a hug from Meeri, who assured me that we would be friends and she would show me around (she was right), and I met all these wonderful teens who are so precious and so unaware of their great worth. I started down that path then because I was lost and in pain from a broken heart and in need of healing, and now, now I can honestly say that these people helped me heal. In spite of the frustrations from trying to juggle TYM with the rest of my life (academics, clubs, my other job), I have never been so happy as I am when I’m there. I come back home on Wednesday nights and I’m on a high like nothing else. It’s an exhausted high sometimes, but still a high.
I know that I will have new students wherever I go next year, and I know that I will probably love them, too. It’s not a competition of the old versus the new. No matter what I find in Indianapolis next year, I will be sad to be away from these kids. I want to see how they grow, what they do, who they become. I’ve watched some of them change and go from being obnoxious kids to being beautiful young adults, some of whom posses a simple wisdom that an academic like me could learn a lot from. I brag about them all the time. I remember distinctly in my Echo interview saying that my students were often the center of my life (and they actually accepted me?)! I feel guilty for leaving them (something that a few of them are happy to exploit!). But tonight as I was working on homework, I found this quote from Pericles: "What you leave behind is not what is engraved on stone monuments but what is woven into the lives of others." I hope that I have woven something good into their lives, both my kids' and my comrades'. I know that they have woven a beautiful pattern into mine.
So, here’s to the patterns that we weave. May they be beautiful and colorful and strong. And may those threads hold us together when we’re apart.