I received a thank you note today from a youth in our ministries. She's the kind and thoughtful sort that writes thank you notes after retreats and special events, even if I begged her to be okay with her mom coming along because I was desperate for another leader. Beg seems like a strong word, but it is really a balance of my inner thoughts and reality. In my mind, I was on my knees, bawling my little itchy eyes out, groveling. On the outside, I was calm and rational and listened to her concerns about having her mom there. In the end, they both had a great time and mom is coming again.

This time, however, the thank you note was not preceded by anything in particular, except perhaps the sentimentality of the year coming to a close. She is an eighth grader, graduating on Sunday. Soon she will be promoted into the big and scary senior high ministry where they travel out of state and separate by gender for bible study.

Her gratitude is so untimely, unsolicited, and wonderful. I am tremendously grateful for her. Her frolicking maturity has surprised me, delighted me, challenged me. She has gently grown up and brought her classmates and friends with her. She's shared with me and I've learned from her.

As I reflect on her thank you, it almost seems scandalous that she would write me such a note. I've done nothing more than what is expected of me. Rather it is I who should be writing. It is she that has risen above expectations and shared her faith so tremendously. Her gratitude is a reminder to me of the blessing that she is.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Alaina, I can relate to all you have written here. On a rare occassion, I still receive a note via facebook, email, etc. from some youth group member I worked with long ago who just wants to say thank you for being there for them in their teen years. It's easy, I guess, to think "What are they thanking me for? I was just doing what I was called to do in ministry." But it's still great to hear that your work is making a difference. Also, I suppose in a way it's like our praying and offering thanks to God. Does God's ego demand that we thank God for everything? Hopefully not. I'd like to think that offering thanks is more about helping us appreciate life ... and this young person is developing a great spiritual practice of being thankful for the blessings she has, which obviously include knowing you!