“Why didn’t I meet you three and a half years ago?”
Timing is always an issue in life. And usually things don’t work according to ours. When we were children, the voice calling us to leave our playmates and come in for the evening always came too early. And Christmas took forever. A pop quiz might rush in to ruin our day, but graduation lingered for an eternity. Bills come soon, paychecks too late. Too often life’s schedule disappoints us, but sometimes it’s perfect.
“What was that?” I asked the young high school student sitting across from me with her head down. I wasn’t sure I heard her right. She repeated herself, “Why didn’t I meet you three and a half years ago?” She wasn’t asking a question. She was really telling me she was glad I was here for her now. She was grateful that I let her come and talk out all her built up confusion.
I knew what had happened when she was a little girl. Trusted elders had mistreated her, stealing her innocence. But what had happened three and a half years ago? She lifted her head and told me that three and a half years ago she thought she couldn’t stand to live any longer. To escape her suffering, she tried taking pills. When that didn’t do the job, she fashioned a noose out of a belt.
Thankfully, that plan failed as well. She was just a kid. How could she give up on life just as it was starting?
She was so full of pain, and she believed she must not express it because of the hurt it might cause someone else. How ironic is that? Keeping quiet to shield those she loved made her want to end her own life. Finally, she told her mother everything. As mothers should, hers took the action necessary to right the injustice. She was able to reclaim her life instead of trying to hurry to end it. Telling me her story is part of that reclamation.
“Why didn’t I meet you three and a half years ago?” She wasn’t asking me a question. Had I come into the picture sooner, she would not have been ready to tell the story. Or the story would not have been ready to tell. I showed up in her life just at the right time. Not a bit too soon, and thankfully, not moment too late.
Being there for a student in need is not about having great timing. It’s about having time. We want to be available for students. Your support makes it possible for Touchstone Youth Resource Services to have youth workers in the right place at the right time. Thank you!
After an extra week off from school due to snow, our CiViL Groups students were begging for something to do. So on the Saturday before Martin Luther King Day, we took them on a different kind of service project. We explained that Dr. King was called by God to serve. To honor him we could do the same thing, ask to be led to serve.
After a brief explanation of the plan, we took to the road in search of someone to serve. We encouraged suggestions from students and adults, and the first few tries were surprising. The man who had just finished cleaning ice off his church steps didn’t need us. The people washing cars at the car wash didn’t want our help, though the manager offered his facility for a future fund-raiser.
It wasn’t until we knocked on a few doors that we found some people willing to let a mob of strange teenagers do something for them. We spent the next three hours shoveling snow and raking leaves. At each house we served, we left a card announcing, “You’ve Just Been CiViL-ized!”
Afterwards we talked about the lessons learned that day. Some people don’t need our help. Sometimes serving feels important. Other times it’s just fun. And God leads, especially when we ask.
In last month’s letter we told you about the “sober reality.” At the printing of that letter, we were still $25,000 of our 2010 budget of $96,000. The as-yet-unraised $25,000 was needed for The as-yet-unraised $25,000 was needed for salaries. Without the salary money, we weregoing to have to stop some or all of the work of CiViL Groups in order to find jobs to pay bills.
Now we’re happy to tell you the good news. Since that writing, we received $20,000 of the needed $25,000. While this doesn’t completely provide for all the need, it comes close. We celebrate and heave a sigh of relief. We have so much good work to do. We want to continue.
A SERIOUS LESSON
There is still a serious lesson to be learned here. We need to raise the money sooner for 2011’s budget. If you would like to help us do that, either by making a contribution or by joining in the fund raising effort, please don’t hesitate. There is so much good work to do. We don’t want to miss any of it. And there’s lots to go around. Come join us!