I took a trip last week. I helped out a little with driving the youth group to Dallas, TX for a youth camp at Christ For The Nations Institute. We left at 5am on Sunday morning, drove to St. Genevieve, MO, which is right outside St. Louis, for the night. Then left early again on Monday morning and drove to Dallas, arriving around 3pm. On Friday, we repeated the whole process again on Friday, leaving Dallas after lunch and returning to St. Genevieve for the night and then home, arriving around 9:30pm.
Through the week, I just wrote observations in my journal, but seriously have not come to a lot of conclusions about what I saw. Some of it was just confusing. (You'll have this with youth...and as I soon learned, with youth ministry...and the way it's done. This seems to be a trend in my life at the moment) I'm sure that I'll be blogging about my conclusions in the future, but for now, I'm just pondering and praying and reading all the wonderful books I purchased in the school's book store. Man I miss not having a Christian bookstore in town. But I'm loaded for bear, at least for a little while.
What I went from:
-a very comfortable king size bed complete with plenty of room for my feet, a big fuzzy pillow named Zoe, and the quiet whirring of an oscillating fan to lure me to sleep.
-cupboards filled with food that give me a daily choice of eating fare
-doors that can be closed when I need some time alone to pray, meditate, or just chill
-a house smelling of various cleaners and lemon furniture polish
-and last, but not least, my best friend whom I have been in constant proximity with for the past 32 years.
What I went to:
-a 15 passenger van stuffed to the max with bed rolls, backpacks, duffel bags, teenagers and boxes of food filled with breakfast and lunch "stuffs".
-constant noise--talking, laughing, screaming, snoring, music
-lots of snack food-pringles, granola bars, fruit, popcorn, peanuts--a virtual smorgasbord
-smells that I would rather forget
-waiting in line for EVERYTHING
-1000 crazy teenagers
Note to self: Please make sure to get signed parental permission to dispense gas-X to the male species who may be participating in next year's trip!
-seeing and meeting interesting people--some interesting in a good way, others in a very, very weird way!
-sleeping all week on a cot, in a kitchen, to the sound of a refrigerator and washing my hair in the kitchen sink
-a child sized cot that was about 12 inches shorter than I am and that crinkled every time I moved because it was covered with plastic.
-only being alone when in the bathroom, but even then time was limited considering I was sharing it with 10 other people.
-Heat and humidity-but surprisingly enough, I was delivered from the heat wave at home! God is so good!
-more text messages to my hubby than what our plan allows...but they were my life line to sanity!
-LOUD, LOUD, long worship services. I praying that my internal organs have returned to their original positions after being shook to death by the vibrating music.
-Sermons, talks, testimonies
-lots of hype and excitement, plenty of fluff and GOLDEN CHICKEN--aptly named. I'm not sure I would drive all that way again just for chicken, but if I would I would buy it there!
-A long, long 48 hours of driving, some of which I got to sleep through, but not much.
Then after leaving Dallas I came home to:
-a clean house! Minus a little dust. My hubby is the best
-a ton of laundry, which I am currently tackling
-a very ecstatic pillow named Zoe
-a well rested, serene, and happy husband
-a still leaking water heater, but not for long
-a church where I feel loved and comfortable
-not much food in the cupboards, but I still get to choose what I'll fill them with
-my wonderful King size bed that just enveloped me when I got in it...AHHHHHH!
This is my second year going to YFN. When I crawl into the van on that early Sunday morning, I find myself saying "Why did I agree to do this? My kids would be gone for a week. It would just be me and E. I could get so much accomplished without the kids being around."
Perhaps I have secret passion for adventure...umm...no, I know that's not it. Perhaps I have a secret martyr complex.....umm...no, I so love those teenagers. Perhaps my subconscious is telling me that this is the only vacation that I will get this year...true, but I certainly would not go to Dallas for vacation. Perhaps, if I had one, it would fulfill any "missionary living" requirement I had to fulfill. Well, for whatever reason, I did it! And I certainly agree that I'm not the same as when I left. I went, I participated, I grew, I survived.
But as Dorothy has said many, many times... THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!