Monday, October 22, 2007

The Hope of Someday

Sunday, before Sunday School, I ran into one of the middle schoolers avoiding Sunday School. I sent him to Sunday School and after class caught up with him. Our conversation went on as follows.

Me: How was Sunday School?
Boy: I hate it. I hate church. I hate Sundays.
Me: I'm sorry you feel that way, but I'm glad you're here.
Boy: Only because my mom makes me come or you tell her about events and THEN she makes me come.
Me: Well, I'm still glad you're here.
Boy: I still hate it.
Me: That's ok, you can hate it. I'm fine with you hating it now. My hope is that someday you will look back at all of this as a good experience. That's my hope for you. That you continue to come to things. I'd even settle for an "Eh" instead of hate. Remember how you didn't want to go on our summer trip and you came back saying that "it wasn't that bad?" I consider that a small gain.
Boy's Mom: Well for him that's a HUGE GAIN!
Boy: Eh.

This conversation, along with this boy, has been on my mind quite a lot these past few weeks.

I am saddened that he hates Sundays. That, in the past, he has admitted to hating others in the middle school group at church. I am saddened that he feels so alone in this community, that he feels like he is forced to attend events.

I am very thankful that he has a mother that makes him attend events, an older sister who encourages him and finds joy and community at our church, that this boy has a classmate here to encourage him. I am VERY thankful that this boy is open with me, that he attends events (albiet under duress).

I am thankful God has promised His Word will not return to him empty. That God is working in this boy's life. I am thankful for the summer trip that he attended because it helped my relationship with him grow in ways that wouldn't have had he only been a confirmation student.

I am thankful for the someday part of ministry. The "someday" is the reason I love my job, love these youth, love these people.