I like to think of myself as a lifestyle blogger. I’m totally guilty of well manicured posts. That’s fun and all, but sometimes I think you just need to ramble for a little bit.
Earlier this week I was filling out a scholarship, and the “list the clubs and activities you participate in” box that college kids know all too well popped up. In addition to clubs from my high school days, I also added in some things from my youth group. My old youth group is a part of my story that I don’t dwell in too often. Later that night, I couldn’t sleep. All I could think about was my old youth group. I thought about the good times, and the bad times. I’ll try to give you the short version:
For a while, I really loved my youth group. I looked forward to going, I loved the fellowship, and I truly got a lot out of it. A year or so in, we went through a leadership change, which is basically “church speak” for we got a new youth pastor. The transition went really smooth, and once again, things were great. Then, it was like a switch was flipped. My youth pastor became obsessed with attendance numbers. She became extremely critical of how we “performed” during the praise and worship portion of our services. She hated it when only a couple people would lift their hands. I vividly remember her stepping on stage and announcing that we were going to keep singing a song until we “did it right.”
Things were starting to go downhill. It was around this time that my grandfather passed away. I was devastated. A couple of people from my youth group, as well as my youth pastor came to the viewing. It was a long drive for them, and I really appreciated it. But after that, no one checked on me. No one asked me how I was doing. It was like nothing had happened at all. Not only was this extremely hurtful, but it was also a wake up call.
The people that I cared so deeply for, really didn’t care about me. They weren’t there for me when I needed them. To put it simply: they let me down. I remember texting a friend from my youth group once. I think it was a Saturday. I asked him what he was doing, and he said “Oh, I’m hanging out with the youth group. Everyone’s here.” Everyone’s here? I was never invited. Looking back, perhaps what I should have done was address the hurt I was feeling, rather than keeping it bottled up for far too long.
The youth group that I had once enjoyed, became a negative environment.
I stuck it out for as long as I could, but I eventually left the group. I got some back lash and some sass, but I didn’t regret anything. This all happened two or three years ago. I now live 1,200+ miles away from those people. Why has it been so hard for me to let this go?
I talked about this with my Mom on our way to Target. She reminded me that this happened for a reason, and that someday, I might be able to use my experience to help someone. I would love that, and I truly hope I’ll have that opportunity.
I can’t go back.
I can only go forward.