It was one of those once in a lifetime experiences.
While I hope for more gatherings like it in the future, I knew this past weekend was special and one to be remembered.
It is not every day I get to see so many of the people who invested so much into my life in one room. People who saw me at my highs and lows, took me under their wing during the raw teenager years and called out the potential they saw in me. People who made such a profound impact in my life, it could be said they helped shape its course.
This past weekend, the church I grew up in came together to celebrate 60 years. While it was so good to recall the early years of the church and those who started it, what was so special to me was the chance to reconnect with my old youth group pastor and friends. It had been ten to fifteen years since some of us had seen one another. It was possibly the sweetest reunion I have ever been apart of.
What really stuck out to me as I was looking back and reminiscing about those formative years was how many wonderful, ‘older’ people sewed into me (now, don't get hung up on that word, there is a point to it). Many of them had to be late-twenties, thirties and forties when I was just a 'tween' and teen, taking time out of their busy lives to be a guide and a friend to me. They were ahead of me in years, yet reached back behind them to help lift me up.
Now, with a family of my own and a variety of responsibilities, I realize what a challenge it can be to take time out of your schedule to work people in. Life gets in the way doesn’t it? Yet, these friends and mentors did, despite whatever ‘grown up’ things they must have been facing at the time.
Pictured: My brother & I with our former youth pastor & his wife, Mike & Bobbie Furlong.
Their influence was profound as they encouraged us through our teen years.
How do you thank those type of selfless people? How do you honor the legacy they left in your life?
Pay it forward in someone else’s.
The older I get, the more I find myself looking around at the next generation and thinking about how I can make a difference. There are teenagers and young 20-somethings that need an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and a friend to champion them as they come into their own and look out into the horizon of their future. I hope that in addition to myself, my daughters are able to benefit from having mentors, teachers, leaders, pastors and friends who encourage their dreams and believe in them so much they never waste time doubting themselves.
The next generation needs us. They need you.
What can we do today that will make a difference in their tomorrow?
Pictured: Several friends & leaders from my former youth group. Such a great weekend reminiscing.
'Paying it forward' is not just about using material resoures, but the most valuable thing you posses, your time.
That will always be te greatest gift you can give.