Why am I a Young Life leader? The answer to this question was ever so clear this week. I am a Young Life leader because I want to make sure no teenager is alone to question, "who loves me?!" . I am a Young Life leader so that when kids are going through a problem they can come to my house and feel at home while I bake them cookies and we talk about what they want to talk about.
On May 22nd, a teenage girl I have gotten to know through the last few years took her life. I know there is no way I could have prevented this but, there is always going to be a tinge of guilt. This showed me how much I as a leader am needed, and how much these teens need a constant reminder They Are Loved.
This past week my husband and I opened our house up to the teens that were mourning. Ben, my husband, has been a leader to many of the boys who knew the girl quite well and as I baked cookies and made dinner Ben played video games. We cried, I cried, a lot. Kids are not supposed to die. We attended her funeral, where I became inconsolable. I trudged through the high school delivering cookies to some of the rooms where the teens met to mourn. I brought a candle down to the candle light, and I cried. Oh man, I cried. I hurt, I hurt knowing how lost this poor girl was. I hurt seeing these boys weep and having them tell me their stories, and hearing the guilt in their voices and telling them, "There is nothing you could have done, what happened doesn't make sense and there is no way you could have changed it".
This is why I am a Young Life leader. I love what I do, I love these teenagers! Ben often says things like, "How about Lainey and I adopt you and then you can have Honey Mustard chicken whenever you want it!" to the guys. The truth, I love these teenagers and I would love to adopt them but, they all have nice families. Sometimes they need someone who isn't there mom to bake them dinner, and someone who isn't there dad to sit down and play video games with them, they sometimes need us. We go into the school and we see what they have to work through. We understand. We sometimes cry.