Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When the Spirit Moves

Coming off a week away at the ELCA National Youth Gathering, I find myself in a strange place. So many are riding a spiritual high ... energized, enlivened and spilling over with excitement. I stood with them and am excited for them, but my spirit is pensive.

That is not to say it wasn't a spectacular experience. In no other place is there the same intersection of thought-provoking speakers, inspiring music, and service opportunity.

It was most certainly an action-packed, spirit-filled week. Yet, I am at odds. The thing is, sometimes the work of the spirit is not warm-and-fuzzy kind of stuff. Sometimes the spirit works to reveal the truth. And the truth isn't always pretty.

Sometimes the truth is that six days of traveling, serving, celebrating, and praising alongside high school youth is harder than you thought.

Sometimes you realize you are ill-equipped to handle the developmentally appropriate sighs and groans of complaint to what youth perceive as "routine" and "boring".

Sometimes you spend the entire trip tending to the details to keep everyone moving forward and maintain connections with those back home, yet find few opportunities to experience connection in the present.

Sometimes you find yourself longing for the familiarity of Mom's group meetings, Guide Huddles, and leading predictable adults.

Sometimes you walk away from an unloaded bus feeling less connected than before you left.

Sometimes you realize you have not taken care of your body as you should, and two full days of rest were not enough to re-energize physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Sometimes, you have a renewed sense of call, but it is the hardest possible choice.

There is great risk in even saying these things. Who goes to a Youth Gathering and comes back disconnected? Who admits they struggled to connect?

The way I see it, if we are afraid of the truth of our experience, then we are not honest with ourselves and risk much more.

So I am speaking my truth and I will continue to wrestle with the movement of the spirit. It could simply be the fatigue of an introvert who experienced no down-time for six straight days.

Or it could be more.

 From what I know of the spirit, if it is more, it will certainly be impossible to ignore.