On Saturday morning I had a revelation. I was getting dressed in a teeny tiny bathroom stall of a rusty, mildewed cabin, trying all matter of yoga so that I didn’t drop my pajamas onto the nasty wet floor while at the same time keeping my balance so that I’d avoid falling through the privacy curtain “door.” I thought to myself, “how many years have I done this?”
9 years. But the number of years that I’ve gone on Jr. High retreats wasn’t the revelation. It was the thought that followed my calculation. I wondered how many more years I’ll get to do this in the future.
Will I be an old lady going on Jr. High retreats? Will I be taking along my 7-day pill box to the dining hall and playing messy games with my bad back? I hope so. I really, really hope so.
We had a blast. Thank you for thinking and praying for us while we were away for the weekend. These retreats are an incredible amount of work but they are so worth it. I love how every year is so different because the kids are so different. The relationships are different, their family backgrounds are different, and their sense of humor is different. I’m always learning something new and God teaches me so much through them.
But some things don’t change from year to year.
Jr. Highers will always volunteer to stick their face in something gross. I’ll never comprehend the level of willingness, but this is always the case.
The theme this year was Dirty Jobs, a take-off of the Discovery Channel show. It was a great theme to work with for games but it had a perfect spiritual application as well. What kind of dirt are we living in? What are we willing to do for the sake of Christ? What was Christ willing to do for us? I learned a lot in our study of Philippians and, as usual, the teens taught the leaders, too.
One interesting thing I learned was this: while there is always at least one girl who is willing to stick her face in whipped cream, the challenge to crawl through a tarp poured with ketchup, mustard, chocolate syrup, Cheerios, and cheese balls is not met with the same level of enthusiasm.
I didn’t get a picture of the tarp (you’re probably glad about that) but let me give you a first-hand report of its nastiness.
I wanted to throw up.
But as each of them, including the one brave girl that is now my hero, wiped off the nastiness onto a rag to throw it in the fire as a challenge to surrender their lives completely to the Lord, I thought about something else.
If I’m going to keep doing this until I’m an old lady, it would be a good idea to add some anti-nausea meds to my 7-day pill box.