The Things We Take With Us

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a theatre production, and when I walked in I could not shake the feeling that I knew one of the ushers.  I wracked my brain trying to remember how I knew this woman, but it just would not come to me.  It was not until I happened to look at my key ring that the memory came flooding back. 

I approached her somewhat timidly because I was not 100% certain I was recognizing the same person I thought I knew more from 10 years ago.  When I got close, she looked at me and asked if I needed help finding my seat, which showed me that she did not necessarily recognize me.  I figured that I also might look a little different than I did 10 years ago, so I decided to take a chance and ask her anyway.  I held out my key ring and asked if the little metal washer I kept nestled next to my keys meant anything to her. 

Instantly her eyes lit up as she was able to see past my super manly-looking beard and recognize the youthful high school boy I used to be back when she was a counselor at the summer camp I attended every year.  We hugged and chatted for a bit, and it was really nice to catch up with her, even if just for a few minutes before the show started.

The reason I was eventually able to remember her is because every year at the end of the week she would give each new camper a metal washer to take with them as a reminder and symbol of the love of God we had experienced during our week at camp.  Over the course of the 10 years since I last saw this woman, I have lived in 3 different states, 7 different locations, and driven 3 different cars, yet in each new place and with each new set of keys, I have kept the washer she gave me. 

Over the years I don’t think there was ever a miraculous moment when I looked down at the washer at just the right time to be comforted by the reminder of God’s love, but I do know that every once in a while I would see it and be reminded of everything it represented.  This woman had given me something to take with me in a very tangible way, but the washer was just a symbol of something deeper.  What I truly took with me (and carry with me still) is the love and faith she had shared with me.

This past year, we at CMC have been giving some new energy into our Youth Mentoring Program.  I have seen and heard that many good relationships are beginning to form as a result, and I have faith that the mentors are continuing to give our youth many good “things” to take with them.  We hope to expand this program, but we cannot do that without more adult mentors.  If you are interested in being put on a list of potential mentors, please respond to this email.  This does not mean you are automatically committing to anything, but it would help me know who is at least willing to consider it. 

Even if you are unable to be a part of a mentoring relationship, I hope you will take time to consider what things you take with you and what things you hope to give others to take with them.