Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hi, Pastor Sam!

This is the fourth Sunday of Advent; the focus is the shepherds and joy. While that's the subject of my sermon at church today, I want to tell you about something that brought Cathy and me great joy this week.

For me, the story began on Thursday. I was on my way home for lunch. Approaching a red light near our home, I decided to turn right (legal to do that on red here). I got into the right turn lane, noticing a group of high school kids crossing the side street. Slowing for them to cross, I noticed that they were all walking behind me and allowing me to proceed. In the midst of the group was a girl I know from church. Ashleigh is 14.

Ashleigh is a nice girl from a great family, but she was in the middle of 7 or 8 friends. That's hardly the time for most teens to acknowledge that the old guy in the car is their pastor. I made the turn with the group now behind me and never saw Ashleigh look my way. All of a sudden I heard a shout. Looking in my mirror I saw Ashleigh yelling, "Hi, Pastor Sam!" as she waved enthusiastically. I turned, grinned and waved back.

On Friday afternoon, I stepped outside the house to get our mail. On my way back, I saw a high school boy walking down the street toward me. As he looked up and made eye contact, I said "Hi" even though I didn't recognize him. Upon his, "Hi, Pastor Sam!" response, I realized it was Beaudy. He's 15 and also a member of our Student Ministry. We stopped and talked for a minute.

I told Cathy what had just happened and added in the story about Ashleigh the day before. She then told me that she had seen Beaudy in the neighborhood while she was driving a day or so earlier. He had waved and smiled.

Our Student Ministry is vibrant and growing. We have a great team working there and I have little personal involvement in what they do. Still, some of them saw fit to share a friendly greeting with me this week.

They brought me good tidings of great joy.

Have you enjoyed any "aha" moments recently?


beckiwithani said...

I see our kids from school on the T (subway, for non-New Englanders) regularly. I usually say hi and stand back to let them make the decision to get in a different car than me. I think if I'd been stuck on the same train as a teacher in junior high or high school, I'd have felt pretty awkward trying to make conversation.

Well, two times in the last couple of months, students have gotten on the train with me and chatted with me the whole time until reaching their stops. One was a 10th grader; the other was a pair of 12th graders. I think it's such a sign of what's good about small schools like the one where I teach -- the teachers get to know the students so well, that the students become very good at interacting with adults. It warms my heart!

Also, the other day I'd said hi on the platform to an embarrassed-seeming 8th grade boy, one who gets in trouble fairly often. I lost track of him, until he was leaving the train at his stop awhile later. I hadn't realized he'd been sitting further down in the same car as me. He walked toward me, stopped before getting off the train, and said, "bye, Ms. Norris!"


Liz said...

I love when young people give us hope. I think it's the best kind of hope. Because it's a glimpse of the potential of our future.

My moments this week all came from my daughter as she showed me her compassionate spirit.

Sam said...

Becki and Liz, your words have encouraged me this dark Sunday morning. Thank you! Do others have a story?

Sandra said...

Any time we hear or see our name used by another in a friendly way, it is a little "gift" isn't it. And, if it's accompanied by a smile, or especially if accompanied by a handshake or shoulder pat, it can mean so much to our day!

C. Beth said...

That is really, really sweet. :)

C. Beth said...

Okay, I've got one. There are a couple of preschool-aged kids at church who refer to me as "Chickie's Mom." That's my name to them. As in, "Um, Chickie's Mom, Zoodle is chewing on the chair." I'm kind of surprised that I like it, but I do--my identity to them is as the mother of a friend of theirs. I love to see that Chickie is developing these little kid friendships, and I hope through her life her friends continue to trust "Chickie's Mom."

Rodney said...

I have been amazed by some of the Youth at the church here. I have Myspace and Facebook accounts. They have friend requested me and frequently call me Pastor Rodney in view of the whole world. It is a privilege and honor from my viewpoint when they do that. Others have texted me to invite me to their school events and go out of their way to welcome me when I get there!