by Sonia Phillips
Colville, Wash., February 26, 2013 - What is Pathfinders? Instead of telling you, I want to let you experience a normal day in a Pathfinder club using your imagination.
The kids enter the downstairs, the door slamming behind. Most of the kids are happy and smiling, teasing and laughing with each other. Others wear a more solemn expression, weary and sometimes disheartened from a long day battling the temptations and struggles of home and school. However, when they enter that door, their spirits lift, if just a bit.
Worship time rolls around, after the preliminary announcements and you-better-remember-because-I’m-not-calling-you-to-remind-you notifications of upcoming events, everyone quiets and settles down on the floor or in various chairs to listen to a continuation of a book, this month’s being Clifford Goldstein’s “Bestseller.” This book speaks to many of our own questions and ponderings. We are silent as we absorb a man’s story of his quest for Truth, to know and believe deep inside that there is a God of all creation. We listen and we are intrigued, because, you see, we have our own doubts, our own struggles and fears. We want to know how God fits in our lives.
After worship we are dismissed to scatter to our various honors; cooking, metal craft, or reptiles. Can you imagine the noise? The clamor, the din? The mixture of happy chatter, giggles, and loud guffaws? You’d feel excitement, love, and the pulse of vibrant, enthusiastic youth. We know each other. We know each one has flaws, struggles, pain, questions, passion, and joy. But here, together, enjoying each other’s company, we can forget for a short time the demands of societies, our insecurities and failures, and simply have fun being together, knowing we won’t be judged, knowing we are loved with a powerful love.
For about an hour we work on various honors, discovering something new, not only about the task at hand, but about the person next to us, our friend across the room. And we are happy. We feel safe.
Sometimes….sometimes one of us is not okay. Sometimes the week was just too hard, school was just too fraught with obstacles, and we break. We let our true feelings show. We can’t hold it in any longer. Love can do that you know. But there will always be someone to lean on, who will listen, and who will wipe our tears from our cheeks. It makes us feel better; we feel better for cracking, and letting our pain out. This love, this acceptance is here only because God is. We know this, it touches us deeply and powerfully.
After “honor hour” is finished, we come together for one last prayer. Then we are done! We disperse, loudly, joyfully, with grins on our faces, because we can now face the rest of the week, renewed, revived. Can you see it in your mind’s eye?
Pathfinders is our haven, our place, within the church where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are accepted. A place where we feel God.
This is why we keep coming. This is why we forward to Wednesday evenings and other Pathfinder events. Life isn’t easy. Living for God isn’t easy, and we fail, over and over again. We believe in a mighty God. We believe He loves us, because in Pathfinders, God’s love is shown. We know that no matter how tough our lives get, or how often we mess up, we can come to a place where God is.
To find out more about Pathfinders call 509-242-0502.