Friday, November 13, 2009

It's time

As you can see I have not posted for a week. In my mind and heart some pretty major things have been going on. I wanted to blog about these things and thought about how I would write about them all week. It's time that I finally got these things out. So sit back and relax this is going to be a long one.

As I mentioned in my previous post I was going to be busy with a Confirmation retreat all day on Saturday. The first year I was in charge of this retreat we did an over night, starting on Friday evening and going until Saturday noon. The previous leader of this retreat had always gone home to sleep and left University students in charge of the high school students over night. I did the same. After all I am a married woman and I only live 4 blocks away from church. Apparently in the middle of the night one young man caused quite a ruckus and ran around the church naked. Also before the retreat (literally the day of the retreat) I had a parent call and ream me out because they had NO idea this was a required event (it had been on out calendar since August) and there child couldn't go. It left me feeling pretty down and discouraged.

Last year I decided to do away with the retreat and offer two all day retreats one in the fall and one in the winter. This seemed to work out well as the young people had two dates to choose from. We met from 9:00am-6:00pm. It was a VERY long day for everyone involved. It did seem to go okay though. There was still a lot of complaining about how long the retreat was.

This year I offered the same deal only I shortened it even more going from 11:00am-6:00pm. Last Saturday's retreat only had 9 people signed up, and I knew by looking at the names that they would be quiet bunch and it might be challenging to get them to talk. All seemed to be going well despite the fact that one kid didn't show up so we were down to 8 kids. Unfortunately for us is was a BEAUTIFUL day, sunny and 70 degrees, pretty rare for Wisconsin in November. After lunch I had the young folks go outside. When I got outside one of them was missing. My small group leaders said he just walked away! I started to panic a little. One of the other young people had this young man's cell phone number. I called it and there was no answer. I left a message asking him to please call me as it was a matter of safety. I sent the rest of the kids to their next activity. I tried contacting this young man's parents. All I got was voice mail. I left messages calmly but firmly telling them what happened and asking them to call me and help locate him. I joined the rest of the group. I told the friend of the young man who walked away that if he contacted him to let me know because it was a matter of safety. Eventually I found out that the young man was fine and went to a friends house. When I finally got a hold of his mother she said she never got my messages but knew where her son was. She told me he really didn't want to go on the retreat but she told him to go and then decide it he wanted to stay (nice right? I mean he was only there for 2 hours!).  I informed her that he never let me know he was leaving and just walked away. Needless to say that this young man has decided not to to get Confirmed.

The reason I am telling you all this is to illustrate my frustration with this job and ministry in general. When I was growing up I was the kid who wanted to go on retreats. I gave up several three day weekends to go on retreats. It was through these experiences I came to discover what I thought was was God's call in my life to ministry.  I find myself asking, "Is this really for me?"It's kind of scary when you begin to doubt your whole life's work. I feel so beaten down. I feel so unsuccessful. I am one who always said, "You might never see the fruit of your labor but you must plant the seeds."  I'm getting a little jaded with this way of thinking. I feel like I am constantly bending backwards to meet the needs of the parents and young people who put church last. Even on the evaluations the young people wrote that the retreat was too long. What do these people want? I've already shortened it from an 18hour overnight retreat to a 9 hour retreat to a 7hour retreat.

I was really angry about last Saturday. Not, that a young person decided not to get confirmed that happens all the time but with how it all went down. I wasn't even given the courtesy of a phone call to let me know where this kid was, I had to call the parents several times before finding out he was safe.

I've been mulling all these occurrences and thoughts over for the past week. And this is only half of my job. The Campus Ministry portion is not going well either, but I'll save that for another post. I've really begun to take a look at my life and ask ,"Is this truly worth it? Is it worth all the time I give, the lack of a social life, working nights and weekends, not being able to spend time with my husband, and all this stress? Is it worth feeling underappreciated, and unutilized? And what am I going to do about it?" I've known for a long time that I could not do this job forever. It wasn't until this past weekend that I realized I need to start taking some action to get me out of this situation. I don't know exactly what that means or how I am going to do it. I hope that through this blog I can formulate a long term plan.

Later today I'll post some more on this and the challenges I've had with Campus Ministry and working for the Church in general. I hope these don't seem like downer posts. I don't really feel down or depressed. I'm just thinking about a lot of things and this is a good place for me to write them out.

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