It’s the start of the school year and the weekly practice of contact work at the high school begins. It’s nothing new. Young Life leaders have been going for decades. Going where kids are. Being seen on their turf, in their world. Yesterday was no different. I jumped in my car and raced to catch first lunch. On my drive to the high school, I wondered, “Why do I still go?“
When I was a sophomore in college, showing up in the lunchroom, scared to death, afraid kids would mistake me for a sophomore in high school. At that time I was thinking, “I’m like their big sister” and I went faithfully because my Area Director told me that’s what Young Life leaders do. So I went.
When I was in my late 20’s, showing up in the lunchroom, scared to death, kids probably thought I was one of the teachers, but I was thinking “I’m like their favorite aunt.” I went faithfully because Young Life told me that’s what Young Life staff do. So I went.
Stepping back into the world of teenagers as a 42-year-old, mother of 2, I was still scared to death that someone might think I hadn’t read the parent handbook which says “no parents allowed.” But I was thinking “I am someone’s mom, just not anybody here.” I went faithfully because the young Area Director in our town said the new school in our district needed Young Life leaders to go to the school. So I went.
Now, many years later, I have silver hair (I prefer silver, not gray) and it is fall of 2016, and I’m driving to Ravenwood High School and I am asking myself “Why do I still go to the lunchroom?”
I go because my Savior and my YL leaders modeled that for me.
I go because it’s a “thin place” (where heaven and earth collide).
I go because I have to trust Jesus, otherwise I will sit in my car in the school parking lot and hear that voice. The one I have come to recognize as the voice of the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy.
The voice whispers:
“Aren’t you too old?
“Don’t you have friends your own age?”
“Is this what successful looks like?”
I go because it’s the only place I can go to see, and be seen, by the entire school.
Football or soccer games don’t give me that opportunity.
Club or Campaigners don’t give me that opportunity.
So to the lunchroom I go. I still go.
Yesterday, a group of sophomores (Tess, Caroline, Maya, Audrey, Cameron, Taylor, Kennedie, Sara Beth, and Caroline) helped me remember their names by telling me they played volleyball, became class president, worked out at the climbing gym and danced. My prayer is that when I left that table full of sophomore girls, they were left with the aroma of a God who came near. A God who moved into the neighborhood. A God who said you matter to Me.
You matter so much so that an old-enough-to-be-your-grandmother YL leader would still show up in the lunchroom to remind you just how loved you truly are.
Written by Eve Sarrett, YL Staff, Tennessee Region.