Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 10:12 (NIV)
This weekend, husband and I attended a reunion of the youth group where we attended church as teenagers. When I was a teen, all my extracurricular activities revolved around church so those kids, now adults, some even grandparents, were my closest friends. Our former youth pastor, Tim, who married us and who youngest son is named after, and Sammi, his wife, came to town on Thursday and stayed with us. It was so good to see them and to spend time reminiscing and looking at old photo albums. I can’t believe husband and I were ever that skinny! The reunion began on Saturday with a picnic lunch, then, dinner at a local restaurant. Today, we went to the church where we were raised and enjoyed lunch with everyone. The turnout for the weekend was disappointing. Not many of my age group were there, but the ones that we did get to meet with had terrific stories and great pictures. It was amazing to see where some of them ended up in life. Some of the “kids” had some hard knocks along the way, but all stated that the years spent in youth group strengthened their faith and prepared them for whatever came. I heard person after person come up to Tim and Sammi and thank them for investing in their lives. Husband and I had shared with them last year how special they were to us so we weren’t surprised to hear others say the same thing. But, what I wasn’t prepared for was how many of them asked about my own parents and commented on what an impact they had made as well. I wished so many times that my parents had come. I tried to get them there, but they had other responsibilities. I am ashamed of all those times that I was embarrassed or irritated by my parents’ involvement in children’s and youth programs at church. The way that they loaded up our old blue station wagon each Sunday with kids to take to church. How my dad helped to start a bus ministry, and my mom directed Vacation Bible School. The parties they planned and trips they chaperoned. One woman told me that she could still remember where everything was placed in my mom’s second grade Sunday School classroom. A man stated that my dad “straightened him out a couple of times”. I can only imagine what that straightening out entailed after hearing about wheel chair races on the third floor of the education building and how they stole the Tim and Sammi’s car and took it for a joy ride. Another man asked me to be sure and tell my dad how he and his brother, when faced with a dilemma, would talk about what would Mr. B. do? I came back with an even greater respect for my parents, and also, the hope that someday, someone will recall me with such fondness and kindness. How about you? Whose life are you investing in?