Ever since Nathan came into the picture (for the past 3 years) Meredith hasn’t been able to go to camp with us. That seems like a small thing until I get to camp and then I remember how valuable she is to me. Being at camp is fun and exciting, but for the youth pastor it can be pretty daunting as well, especially when you are at a camp like M-Fuge that separates you from your own students for most of the day.
There were 19 students with us (10 guys and 9 girls) and I wanted to try to spend time with all of them. This of course doesn’t happen so I try my best to determine who needs personal attention from me and who can better be served by one of the other adults or by one of their peers. This is a balancing act that I used to think that I was good at. I now see that it is Meredith who is good at it. When Meredith is with me she is able to sort of be a filter for me, helping most of the people and then telling me who I need to make a special block of time for.
At camp Meredith also helps me out by keeping me sane and doing the small things that I need to keep functioning like simply telling me “you’re doing a good job.” You would think that after 10 years of this job that I wouldn’t need that encouragement, but working with teenagers is a hard thing. They are demanding of your time and your attention and yet rarely ever stop to acknowledge that you actually helped. I guess they are just like adults in that regard. Then on top of that they can’t see the dance I am trying to dance to keep up with everything going on so they end up getting frustrated with me.
I am such a people pleaser that I try my best to be sure to keep everyone happy. This means that I end up running around trying to be with people and do things for people and go places with students when I should be away by myself recharging and getting ready to go to the next thing. What Meredith does for me is to whisper in my ear that it will be OK and reminds me that she loves me even when it seems like everyone else doesn’t.
Of course I know that everyone else isn’t against me, but lack of sleep and lack of someone to place the world into perspective makes things hard on me sometime. Over the course of the week I get more and more tired while the students do the same as well. It can make for some volatile situations.
As I have ministered for these past few years without Meredith right there at events with me I see now how invaluable she really is.