The names seem to wash over me. They all sound foreign and long.
One name stuck out however as it was nearly the same family name as a teenager I used to know in my previous life as a youth worker.
I’d forgotten about her for over 10 years. Inevitably I ended up on Facebook seeing if I could see her now. Where is her brother at?
Then I started wondering about other teenagers I had worked with. Where are there now? What happened that South African kid? What about the American kid?
I saw one update from another that got me asking questions about what had happened in their lives in the 10 years since I last saw them.It got me worried and sad. And so on.
It is hard for me to make sense of the youth work years. I try not too think of it as a waste of time but sometimes I feel that way. You would spend hours planning something ‘cool’ and nobody would turn up. Or else they would turn up and annoy the life out of you. Basically I wonder ‘What was the point?’
So somehow I’ve gone from making a German beer poster to a state of mild melancholy about Wednesday afternoons in church halls.
While on holidays in France I read a poem by Elizabeth Jennings. I liked the imagery.
A star that we see now mightn’t be there now. It might have died never to return again. Maybe stuff we’ve done years ago might only reach people now or sometime in the future? ‘This little light of mine’ might shine now but people might only see it in 2021? The grace people have shown me in 1997 might only hit me next week. Delayed reactions.
The radiance of the star that leans on me
Was shining years ago. The light that now
Glitters up there my eyes may never see,
And so the time lag teases me with how
Love that loves now may not reach me until
Its first desire is spent. The star’s impulse
Must wait for eyes to claim it beautiful
And love arrived may find us somewhere else.