Let’s be honest: life is hard right now.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and not only that, we’re in the middle of one of the nation’s hot spots for community spread rates. We’re in the middle of a renewed conversation about race and privilege and racism, in which we find ourselves complicit in the oppression and exploitation of people of color. We’re in the middle of a time of uncertainty and anxiety, in “what we’re going to do about this?” or “what’s going to happen with that?” or “what’s going to be the next shoe to drop?” And we’re in the middle of our reconciliation with our new, shared reality, and that things are not going back to the way they were before.
It’s hard – in the midst of all of that – to not feel like the darkness is closing in around us.
As the novelty has worn off, and as we’ve lost things as a community and society – school, sports, church, prom, graduation, birthday parties, funerals, weddings, vacations, camps, mission trips (just to name a few) – it has felt like we’ve been blowing out candles in a dark room. And for a while now, it’s felt like the last light of hope we have left is the idea that at some point, this will all be over, and we would get to go back to school in the fall, and professional sports would finish their seasons, businesses would start opening up and hiring people again, and the church and the Justin would open our doors.
But as we have lost more and more things, it’s felt like the darkness has slowly crept in from the corners of the room.
We each have our own candles that we’re holding on to – for some of us, we’ve been able to work from home, or some of our events have been rescheduled, or we still have something we’re looking forward to – but it’s not like we can sit close together anytime soon. The things that we thought made us a community – shared spaces and meals and laughter – have gotten harder, if not impossible, to find. And it’s in that distance from one another, and in the growing shadows, that it feels like if we let go of the idea that things aren’t going back to the way they were before, we’ll be left alone in the dark.
I wish I could tell you when this will be over, or that when it is, we’re going back to the way things were before. I wish I could tell you that we have a plan that will guide us from where we are now to the end of the pandemic. We don’t. What we do have is a promise:
God is good. God is here. God loves us. It will be ok.
And we’re going to try.
And we’re going to fail. And we’re going to try again. We’re going to make plans, and our plans are going to change. We’re going to come up with ideas that don’t work, or that do work, or that work for a little while and then stop working.
We’re not perfect, and we’re tired.
But we’re not going to stop trying. We will keep showing up, for your teenagers and for your family. We’ll keep coming up with things for you to show up to. We’ll keep holding up the light of these promises – God is good, and here, and loves us, and it will be ok.
We love you. We miss you. We’re here for you. We’re going to try.
Associate Director of Youth Ministries