Spring Break, Youth Ministry Style

This week was Spring Break.  Today is the first day this week I haven't had at least 4 teenagers here, eating me out of house and home.  Such is the nature of leading a relatively small, steadily-growing, relationally-driven youth group.  Oh, and living right across the parking lot from the church. Sunday night we had 3 teenagers and 2 friends/youth leaders over until after 1:00am.  We had a ball.

I have no memory of Monday; it was a blur.  I mean I actually, literally can't remember it.

Tuesday I watched one of Madeline's friends, Holly, whose parents had to work while she was out of school.  She and Madeline were precious together; Holly was big-sister-for-a-day, teaching Madeline what she needed to know about cheerleading and Miley Cyrus.  A couple hours after she left and I started making dinner, Dan walked in with a surprise.  Three teenagers.  I instantly changed my dinner plans to include them - then they all went out to a late movie.  Then one spent the night.  Eh, we're flexible.

Wednesday morning we picked up a van load of teenagers to do some fundrasing service work.  In fact, we arranged for our youth group to be able to work all week, all over the community, to raise money for our mission trips and events this summer.  They worked all day Wednesday, and then showed up en masse in our back yard to grill out and play volleyball.  We were eaten alive by mosquitoes, I performed several cartwheels six months pregnant, and they stayed late - surprise.

Thursday morning the kids were working at the church - a few showed up early - and sat in my living room while we ate breakfast.  They were in and out all morning asking for rags, buckets, cups of water, and to use the bathroom.  Then they all came inside for lunch, AGAIN.

This is what my kitchen counter looked like at this point during the week.

I wrestled with a roaster chicken as I prepared dinner one night (maybe that's what I did on Monday...).  You could have gotten salmonella poisoning just from looking in the direction of my kitchen.  At one point there were nothing but butter knives left in the silverware drawer, and we were drinking out of mugs because all the cups were - well, they were everywhere.  I tried sweeping once during the week, but 7 minutes after I did the floor was already covered in shoe-mud and Dorito crumbs - so I gave up.

Thursday after lunch, I practically drug the last kid out the door with me as I left for my doctors appointment.  When I returned, the phone rang.  Shortly thereafter TWO MORE came over and hung out until we kicked them out for dinner.

So let me rehash: We spent every minute of every day working with teenagers.  We spent every minute of every evening entertaining teenagers.  I bought groceries I wasn't planning on buying, and made meals I wasn't planning on making.  My house was - well - it looked like a teenagers bedroom threw up all over it and then I let a three-year-old run buck wild through the place.  Something like that.

You might think that because I don't care for cooking or dishes or anything thereunto pertaining, that this would have been a horrific week for me - but you couldn't be more wrong.  I love entertaining.  I love having a house full of people - even if those people happen to be between the angst-ridden, drama-filled ages of 12 and 18.   I happily made up beds on the couch, and put together little trays of crackers and cheese and lunchmeat and pickles.  I made homemade milkshakes.  I made them lift their feet as I vacuumed right underneath them.   I said things like "Of course we can watch Cartoon Network," and "Of course you can take a shower at midnight.  Let me just get you some fresh towels."

I probably would have lost it once or twice, except for that I really love them.  And that I believe in what we're doing.  And as long as this is the exception and not the norm (which it is, with much room to spare), it's kind of special.

But now, I'd like to sit home alone in the silence.  And eat mangoes in the silence.  And read and write in the silence.  And take long, luxurious showers in the silence.  Can that be arranged?