Monday, September 16, 2013

Diverse Weekend Activities Fulfilling and Joyful

Every Monday morning the co-worker, in the cube across from mine, and I exchange pleasantries and review the goings on of the weekend. I often have stories of soccer matches or basketball games, some winning others not. I usually have an anecdote or two about church. But this morning I felt especially grateful for the weekend, what I experienced, the fun I had and the rest I received.

Friday night I blessed to share some time with my dearest of friends, helping them paint their entry way. It sounds crazy that I would be grateful for work but in reality these types of service opportunities energize me. It's also quite different from going into a nasty home and gutting it out and suffering hardships in the labor. My friends keep me in stitches most of the time so working with them in their home is more like enjoying a good stand-up comedy while doing a little bit of distracting work. You know it was a good night when the ceiling is completed, the walls are done, the trim is mostly preserved, edges neatly cut in, a smile on our faces and the heart is swollen with joy. I'll reserve the best part of the evening for another post but sufficeth to say it involved a car, paint, donuts and adrenaline.

Saturday was just as enjoyable but in a completely different way. Having ref'd three soccer matches in the heat and capped it off with coaching two matches later that evening, I was exhausted and spent. But each experience provide it's own set of joys. While ref'ing, I like to take the time to encourage both teams, not in a coaching sort of way, but recognizing players that are genuinely doing their best and making a difference. Other times players just need some motivation to not get too down on themselves and a little "nice try" goes a long way. A mother expressed her joy with the way I handled a situation with her daughter who had been scored on during a penalty kick. The kind of feedback she provided offset any belittling or under-the-breath comments coaches like to sneak in and makes the experience enjoyable and sustainable.

The penultimate experience of the weekend occurred at church during our worship service where a dear family's oldest child gave his first talk (a youth sermon) in front of the congregation. Most of our youth are adept at giving talks from the time they are 3 years old as they learn to do so among their peers and are accustomed to sharing their faith in limited time but frequently. The uniqueness of this young man's life was the differential from his peers.

The young man, when born (I believe), suffered brain damage and has had physical and mental challenges his whole life. He frequently gnaws on his hand, is repetitive in speech and thought and challenges those around him especially in reverent circumstances. But those that have worked with him both as adults and youth have grown to love and serve him, knowing that his circumstance is a blessing to those that are willing to love him.

Yesterday he stood on his own and with little prompting from his wonderful and wise father gave a short, concise and incredibly emotional sermon on the divinity of Jesus Christ and His love Father in Heaven. He quoted scripture, he bore witness and he overwhelmed me with the Spirit of God. I've heard moments of clarity in his voice before and seen in his eyes the acknowledgement of the moment's instructions but in this moment I was truly the student learning from one so much closer to God. Never have I heard a youth speak with such conviction, faith and power and I was truly awestruck. God was able to testify through this young man of His supernal role as Creator, Divine Parent and provider of love and joy. He always witnessed of the individual worth of souls and how we are all special in God's eyes. My heart leapt with joy as this young man overwhelmed me, causing tears of joy to flow at the goodness of Jesus Christ.

So in short, through all of the fun, the excitement, the personal journeys, struggles and conflicts, the best part of the weekend was by far the most simple of all experiences. A witness of God's existence, His love and the worth of souls.

How was your weekend?
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