I call it the “Eight O’Clock Question.” It’s a question I ask myself without fail around 8 o'clock Friday night every time I take youth on a trip. The question dates all the way back to the first time I took 16 third grade Girl Scouts on a camping trip in the rain. That was about thirty years ago. Do the math. Yes, I am old.
Somewhere I switched from Girl Scouts to the church youth. Same kind of kids, same energy level; same S’mores, stomach aches in the middle of the night and stupdendous smiles framing gleaming orthodontia. Same Eight O’Clock Question. Even thirty years ago my body was rebellious by evening on Friday.
Why do I do these things? I could have easily declined. No... I brought this whole thing on myself so I never could pass off the blame.
Friday evening is usually when I remember with some surprise than I am not as young as the other people in the room. I will invariable prefer to go to sleep at that moment or, at least, find a way to make these young creatures be still and silent. Even for five minutes. Dear God, couldn’t we have just five minutes of peace? Maybe three? One?
But I keep forgetting these things and the Spirit moves me to do it over and over. The minute they ask for sponsors my hand is the first one up. Why?
Because I love it. Because I know something now that I'm older that I didn't know 30 years ago. Because I know the Eight A.M. Answer to the Eight O'Clock Question.
Because there is a huge Pay Day: the glorious moment when the answers come. Pay Day is Sunday morning when we start wrapping things up and I realize that I have survived. My muscles will scream at me on Monday morning but by 8 am on Sunday I get a second wind and I sprint to the finish. That's when all the energy released over the weekend settles in my soul and I connect with the Holy Spirit of God who brought me here, who sustained me, who whispers in my ear that there is a beautiful plan for us all and that I am part of that plan.
Staying forever youngI didn’t set out to try to stay young. My body certainly hasn’t stayed that way but my mind has. And that may be the cruel joke here. For the present I am able to limp through. I know that someday I will have to hang it up but for now I’m not ready and I thank God for that.
Singing songs underneath the sun
Let’s rejoice in the beautiful game
Then together at the end of the day
We all say:
When I get older I will be stronger
They’ll call me freedom Just like a waving flag
So far, the only adjustment I've had to make for my age is not playing Giants, Wizards and Elves. I almost cracked a rib playing this game back in the fall when I got knocked down and sort of trampled over by a herd of kids.
I tried to record everything. I'll share just a couple of the best parts. And one of them was so totally random it had to be serendipity:
I didn't get any video of my favorite energizer since I wasn't behind the camera. I was down on the floor dancing with the kids. So here's a video I found on Youtube of what we were doing:
Thank you, God.
from the kids at
First Presbyterian Church of Garland, Mabank, and McKinney