Thursday, May 14, 2015

finish the race

When life brings us the unexpected, 

grace helps us finish the race...

I've been away from the blog for a couple of weeks - life away from the computer intervened. As it often seems to happen, time passed more quickly than I'd imagined possible.

Last night, the high school students at my parish who have spent the last nine months or so preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation, were confirmed. Thanks be to God!!

It was a special evening for them - a wonderful group of teens, with whom I was blessed to spend many hours over the months of their preparation. Back in September, I'd met them all for the first time as a Confirmation teacher. Last night, I presented them for the sacrament of Confirmation, as the parish's Confirmation program coordinator.

Yep, that was a big change. To say the least.

I certainly hadn't expected this - but a few months ago, the parish's director of religious education took a new job, and I was asked to assume leadership of the high school Confirmation program. I accepted enthusiastically - and yes, a few people thought that was crazy, in and of itself. I knew full well what I was taking on... 21 teenagers in the final months of Confirmation prep... All the joys of making sure they had fulfilled all of the requirements to be confirmed... While doing my day job, on top of all that.

There were moments of joy. The times when I just knew they "got it" - that they understood something of what I was trying to teach them - or when a teen who had been disengaged, found a reason to be interested in why they were studying to be confirmed.

There were moments of stress and thinking I might just lose my mind this time. Perhaps I had bitten off more than I could really chew.

There were moments when I said, "Lord, why am I doing this?" - when the demon of insecurity that often tries to creep into our efforts in youth ministry, would rear its ugly head. I mustered all the trust I could muster, and tried to forge ahead.

But at the end, there was joy, despite the fact that I was a bundle of nerves and adrenaline last night. There was joy in knowing that while this particular race was finished, these teens had finished it strong, and hopefully were ready to walk back out into the world, not as if they'd graduated from faith, but with greater strength, ready to live their lives with faith... Ready for the next leg of the race toward eternity.

They had persevered. I had persevered. We made it, together.
Because... Grace. Without it, we could not persevere. Please God, may we continue on the path you place before us.

Not the greatest pic, I know... But not bad for a snapshot from an early morning run a few days ago... the sun coming up over the mountains, headed up a hill... With the bonus of a bird flying through at just the right time! Kind of a nice analogy for life, right? 

Joining the Blessed is She linkup on "perseverance" this windy Thursday night... 

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