Saturday, June 9, 2012
Four adults to eleven teenagers. This past weekend marked a special time in the confirmation class I have taught this last year. Their confirmation isn't till the twenty-fourth, but this was the overnight retreat. Some might call us crazy taking 11 teenagers to the mountains overnight, I must admit, crazy had crossed my mind as well. When I was asked to take this class a year ago, I hesitated and took a long pause. I think I said, "but they are teenagers." My comfort zone would be the younger generation, around preschool age. I am just entering into the teenage years with my first born. At last I felt the nudge to say yes. I met with our priest and discussed what would need to be covered, what was the service hour commitment they would need? Myself and another brave woman joined and not as prepared as we thought we were, started what turned into an amazing though exhausting year with these young people. We had to figure out how to get them to open up and talk in class, not a problem I had ever experienced with the younger kids. Were we getting to them? Do they see our own love for the Catholic faith? Do they see the gift of confirmation? Are they understanding their responsibility and duty to serve others past the 20 hours we were requiring?
As they year went on, their personalities shined. We began to see not just what they needed but what God had already done. Their eyes were open as we served in the homeless kitchen. They became more aware as we did some work for a group home. They pulled together as one lost a grandfather. They began to see their place in the church, slowly, but the flame was lit. Even as they enter and receive this blessed sacrament from our bishop, I know their journey is just beginning. I know some might take a "break" from coming to church, some will keep on coming and serving. Whatever they do, my prayer is they don't forget. My prayer is even if they get off track, they find their way back. Of course I don't want any of them to get off track, but if they do , I want them to always feel that yearning.
As we hiked to the top of this beautiful arch, I looked at the beautiful landscape that God had created for them, and then I looked at their faces. I called them together and had them look at what surrounded us. We talked about how beautiful it was. I told them that God could have created this earth we live on to be functional without the beauty, but he didn't. I told them, if God creates something as beautiful as the mountains and trees and even the details in the rock , do you know how much more beautiful you are, as you were made in his image.
My family often hikes in this area we were in, and every time I go into the woods, I am renewed and refreshed. When I am surrounded by nothing but His handwork, I feel secure. He created everything to work in harmony. Seeing this always reminds me that He has a handle on my issues. He's got me covered. Whether these kids use nature or whatever speaks to them, I pray they find their assurance.
These teenagers turned out to be a pretty good group. While I attempted to teach them and prepare them, I was reminded of my own role in the church and the world around me.
I am looking forward to their special day and the special day of all the young people being confirmed in the church this year. These young souls are the future leaders of the church, least we forget.