I found this today and think it's such an interesting idea to think about. Especially in retrospect, because the person we thought we needed in our lives when we were 10 or 15 or 19 maybe wasn't who we needed after all. Now we can see a clearer picture of our younger selves and the kind of friend, teacher, parent or mentor that we needed. Then we can be that for someone else.
I was quirky and weird when I was in HS. I loved the band Superchick and would go to all of their concerts with my youth group friends. I loved reading and competed in the Battle of the Books and Academic Decathlon. Working Day Camp changed my life and the people I met on staff became my best friends. I volunteered at my church and was there every week for volunteering with the children's ministry and singing in the balcony on Sunday mornings.
Over a year ago I had a conversation with some girls at a Young Life camp that I still remember like it was yesterday. Megan, Sav, Chloe and Kate were sitting on the hill by the lake at Sharp Top, just hanging out. I was on my way to meet the girls from my cabin but stopped to talk to these girls instead. We talked about a dozen different things but I remember telling them that the HS version of myself wouldn't have been friends with them. But now, I think that maybe they were the kind of people I needed and maybe I was the kind of person they needed.
Since that conversation on the lake hill my friendships with those girls have continued to grow in different ways. I get excited whenever I see Sav, Kate was just a counselor on our Camp T field trip, Chloe is a staple part of our Wyld Life ministry and lately I've been hanging out a ton with Megan. There's something dynamic about her personality and I love that I never know what she's going to do or say next. She dances in the parking lot, befriends unlikely people, loves shopping like I love summer camp and obsesses over bloggers like I want to be best friends with Bob Goff and Glennon Doyle Melton. She embraces who she is and it's beautiful.
In some ways I'm totally different than Megan and her friends. People who know us from different settings would probably find it mind boggling that we like each other so much. But sometimes we need friends that challenge us and inspire us and encourage us. We learn more about ourselves by learning more about other people. She teaches me about rappers, leather jackets, being real and just telling people that you freaking love them. That's exactly the kind of person that I want to be friends with.
Last week at camp we both gained a deeper appreciation and friend crush for Cassidy Ogan. So we kidnapped her this morning to take her to Patachou-- the land of omelets and cinnamon toast that comes straight from heaven.
Yesterday Ryan Ahlwardt said that when he asked his wife where her happy place was she responded, "Cheesecake Factory." I bet you know mine would be Camp Tecumseh. If you ask Megan Cook the same question she'll tell you, "Urban Outfitters."
Something I needed when I was in HS was my youth group at Delphi United Methodist Church. Hanging out with my youth pastor Sheila and the friends I met there helped me to thrive, to be myself, to lead others, to be creative and silly and goofy and weird. That's where I learned more about having a relationship with God and growing in my faith with a community. One of the reasons I do Young Life is because I want to give that to others.
Tonight HSE Young Life hosted our third annual Fall Barn Party. Families, junior high kids and high schoolers came together for all kinds of flannel Fall goodness. There is something really special about being part of this community.
Girls like Sarah, Grace and Sydney are part of my family here. Ashely and Ellison just joined us this year. Emily and Amy go to a different YL Club but you know we'll be excited to see them when they come visit. Tonight we had carnival games, hot dogs and s'mores, a haunted trail and Club at the end of the night.
This is the kind of community I want to help give to others. I want kids to feel like they can be themselves here. I hope that people will find the friends they need in this place. I'll do my best to keep pointing back to Christ in all that we say and do because that's what makes this so special.