Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lunch with Judy

Her name is Judy. She is a little bit older than I am. She is a lot smarter than I am. And she has done what I've done for longer than I have done it. When I arrived in my adopted hometown in 1983 Judy was already a part of a group of volunteers that worked with the teenagers at the church where I had accepted the position of youth pastor. When I resigned 2 months ago Judy was STILL going. Strong. This woman is the Energizer Bunnie's worst nightmare!

Judy invited me to lunch today at a local pizza place. It's the same place where we have huddled together dozens of times over the years discussing this kid or that situation. We have strategized there and debriefed each other there. Today? Today we just ate lunch, talked about old times and she brought me up to date on how the kids are doing.

Once upon a time Judy and I figured how many times we had driven (the equivelent of) around the globe at the equator with teens. I've been told that the distance around the old planet is about 24,900 miles. At that time we figured we had done it twice. That was in about 1990. We had been together for 7 years. That was 17 years ago. I have no idea how many times it would be now but let's just say we'd be Rand McNally's dream customers.

Judy has bailed me out countless times. All I ever had to do was call her and she would almost always agree to pick up food or drinks for the kids at the last minute, fill in with a bible study that would be relevent AND understandable to a 12 year old and an 18 year old at the same time. She drove in cities which, believe it or not, many adults will not do. She and I have dodged tornado's in Kansas and Wisconsin. We have navigated snow storms in the prairies of Illinois. We have climbed up the sides of mountains in New Mexico. We've walked through the White House and the out house. We've ridden on rented motor coaches, school buses, vans, cars, hay wagon's, my convertible Mustang and her mini-van. We've married kids and we've buried kids. We've eaten with kids and thrown up over kids. We have consumed thousands of pizza's and donuts. We've told kids why not to have sex before marriage and we've hugged them when they've ignored our advice and had their hearts broken. We've taken kids to the ocean and to Disney World, to Sears Tower and to Georgia swamps. We've taken kids to our homes when they've had no place else to go. We have prayed for kids and seen God's answer and we have prayed for kids and watched as they rejected the truth. I am quite sure that I have been in more hotels with Judy than I have been with my wife and don't you DARE to assume anything by that except that we were with dozens of kids where we sat outside there doors in deserted hallways until all hours of the night when were finally convinced that they were actually asleep or at least afraid to leave their rooms. Between us we have sweat literally gallons while walking through places like Union University; Glorieta, New Mexico; Ridgecrest, North Carolina; and Carson Newman College. Why? Well because it was hot. And humid. And our kids were outside and we wanted to be outside with them.

Dozens ... no, hundreds ... of kids will be in heaven because of my friend Judy. She will blush when she reads this. But it is true.

I have worked with more volunteer youth staff members in my life than I can remember. And I have never worked with one as dedicated, as loving, as devoted, as committed, as kind, as gifted ... as Judy.

Thank you for lunch today, my friend. And thank you for nearly 24 years of doing youth ministry side by side. You are my sister and I am so proud to be your brother.

I love you, Judy.


Anonymous said...

I second this blog...thanks Judy!
From a dear friend and product of your ministry.

Anonymous said...

I am the wife. Judy loved my husband, my kids, and loved me. Thanks so very much JUDY. AMEN and amen again