Have you ever not realized the impact you have had on someone until they are gone? Or maybe it’s the impact they have had on you. Either way, it is strange how you don’t realize it in the moment. It always seems to happen after the fact. Truthfully it happens to me a lot.
Before I started working for the church, I worked for the YMCA. I started out as just a counselor but within a span of two years had worked my way up to Teen Director. I didn’t know a thing about working with teenagers when I took the job. I started my new position with a Site Director that didn’t like me, no staff, and around 50 middle school kids. It was pretty crazy but I was able to build the program up. In fact, I won two programming awards from the YMCA for my ability to program for teenagers. That is when I realized that I had a gift for working with teens.
As you always do when you work with youth, you become closer to some than you do to others. Some of them truly want your love and attention while others just seem to be along for the ride, or are only there because their parents made them come. I have had my share of close relationships with youth and in fact, I keep in contact with a lot of my YMCA kids.
The funny thing is, there was one out there that I didn’t realize meant so much to me. Chad was very young when I first met him. He was a small boy with blonde hair. He was always apart of everything we did at the YMCA from the after school program to summer day camp, from Leader’s Club to summer adventure trips. He was always by my side and interested in what I was doing. Many times I was invited to concerts or other opportunities with his family, but for some reason I never went. I think it was mainly the guidelines of the YMCA that kept me from going.
I can remember one time when I truly frustrated Chad so badly that he had a trumpet with its case, and he sort of attacked me with it. He was really mad, I don’t remember why, but he chased me across the gym at the YMCA with that trumpet case.
Another time, he played that trumpet for a devotion we did at Leader’s School where he played Taps. I was so proud of him that day, but I don’t know if I ever told him that.
God has blessed me in so many ways with the glorious wonderful youth that he has put in my life. Chad was one of those youth. We don’t talk much now, but I still picture him standing by me or looking up at me with a grin. I realize how much of an impact Chad has had on my life.
I want to thank you Chad for sticking by me all those years. Thank you for showing me God’s love through your thoughts, words, and deeds.
I was told you put the following saying (which was something I said all the time) in your senior yearbook.
Peace, Love, Recycle.
May Peace be with you, may you always know that God and I love you, and may you recycle it back to those that you hold dear!