I was invited to chaperone a retreat for the juniors at the school where I teach. It’s a Catholic school, a school I happen to love with my whole heart where I graduated from. A big part of our school’s identity is offering retreats, which are basically spiritual journeys, to the kids, especially during their junior and senior years.
For the past two days, I was with the kids and two other adults on Junior Journey, a two-day Dr. Seuss-inspired retreat. The confession? I didn’t wear heels. For two days. ::collective gasp::
The funny thing is when I was getting ready yesterday morning at home, I seriously considered wearing mushroom-colored wedges, which I purchased after seeing them on The Pioneer’s Woman’s website. PW is fantastic and serves as tremendous inspiration for this blog, y’all. (You’ll see why I included the y’all after you check her out and see where she hails from.)
Of course, I knocked some sense into myself and selected a pair of ballerina slippers. It was a really hard choice, seeing as I own exactly two pairs. (Thanks, Mom!)
While being on a retreat is truly an experience like no other, being on a retreat with juniors in high school (17-year-old PITAs), students who drove you bat-poop crazy last school year when you taught them as sophomores, is quite another. On a serious note, these kids surprised me. The kindness, compassion and understanding they lavished upon each other so unabashedly made me feel teary, but teary-in-a-good-way. Today, the last day, while the kids were all sharing as a whole group, I surprised myself by telling them when I hear their stories — which range from regretting a bad choice, or feeling terrible about the death of a parent, or about their parents’ divorce and everything in between — I really wish I could take away all their pain and give them a fresh slate. Of course, I can’t. But what’s beautiful is this: They can do it for themselves. The thing I love about my faith is that it allows people to start fresh on any given day. For that, I am grateful, and I know about 50 kids are, too.
No, I didn’t get to rock my Nine West Funnycat Cork wedges, but I rocked a lot more than that. I saw them laugh, I saw them cry; I felt God’s presence. That’s pretty bad a** if you ask me.