On Saturday night we had a huge meeting with all of our sponsored students--around eighty of them. We reviewed some of the highlights of our programing, went over the purpose, rewarded and recognized those who had invested, succeeded and grown, and rolled out the plans for this term. It was an exciting time. It's been a long time since we've been able to gather everyone together at the same time in the same room--good to be in our new place!
As staff, we were excited about the involvement of the students. "Some of them really trust us!" one said. They went ahead and checked boxes, signing up for activities without going to read the description. And I felt the same thing about the twelve who signed up for our newest activity--one for those in the higher levels. I don't even have it all worked out yet! There were no dates on the calendar for them to write down--but just with hearing the vision, that it would be flexible to their schedule, and that they'd be able to complete some parts over Spring Festival and after they graduate next year, twelve signed up.
But there was something else we were also feeling. Later one staff member said what she felt up at the front there--the incredible need to keep growing herself.
I know the feeling. I was feeling it in my heart too, but perhaps differently than she was. There I was calling students to the front--commending their stories of growing in honesty and courage. There I was telling students about programs in which we examine our own lives, learn to lead our selves, face and deal with the issues of our heart, character, and personality.
And there I was knowing there are so many things I am still working on. Sometimes it seems there isn't time, I let some of them slide. Sometimes I want to run and hide, not face them. Sometimes...
But I cannot NOT go forward. I must learn to lead myself. I must learn to live a life "that renews the life of God" in me. I must live with a sensitive heart--sensitive to the Spirit of God, and sensitive to the signals that something is not right--within or with someone else. And I must continually do the work of making things right with others--learning to understand, listen, apologize, forgive. There are some things on this list right now. I must create time and space in my schedule for the work that is needed.
(written about two weeks ago)