Date: 1/10/2003 3:55:26 PM
Name or Pseudonym: Youth Minister
Subject: Gift of Love
I was thrown for a loop. I sent a letter off to one of kids I "ministered" to from our Parish Youth Group. He was the skinny kid that loved his Mother and was a life guard at the local Boys & Girls club. He was the kid, that I taught to serve on the Altar. He was the boy that I had to take to side and talk about the proper use of ones hands around young ladies. The young boy had become a man. He graduated from High School and joined the Navy. He had plans to go to college on the GI Bill, get a good job, get married and have lots of children. He wrote me an answering letter. It literally floored me.
He thanked me for being there for him. He did not know his Father, who had died an early and untimely death. He said that I was the Father that he never had. He said that I always listened to him. I took the time to offer good, solid advice. I never scolded him, when he was just being a kid, but I did not hold back when he needed to be corrected. He said he loved me for being there for him. He wanted to be like me when he grew older.
I never had the chance to have any children of my own. The woman I married was troubled and had her struggle with alcohol and bad friends. She died an untimely death at 36.
I knew I joined the Youth Ministry to try and find the joy that I had missed through some bad choices in my life. It wasnt purely selfish reasons that took me to that group. I knew many of the children. I taught them to be Altar Servers. I knew their parents and siblings, and taught the Jr. High religious education class. Every time I was with them, I grew in my faith and my reverence for God. I gave them my time, and they gave back with their awesome spirit and joy of life.
The things that the boy wrote, I dont remember doing anything special for him. I would have done those things for any other kid that I know from the parish. I was struggling with my ministry working with Youth. I was doubting whether I had a place in the group or even made an impact. Wouldnt I best serve somewhere else in the Church? God answered my prayer request that day, through this young man. I needed to stay with the Youth Group.