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Be the light, it saves lives

September 7, 2011

Fall for many young people means the beginning of a new time in their lives. Whether it be starting a new grade in school or beginning their first time away from the parents as they start their college or university life; often this change is positive.
What we rarely see is the negative. The side of life that many of the youth of this community and others experience where the changes that happen around them can often bury them into a life where darkness seems to be the only option.
Just here in North Hastings, I sit here in the office almost to the point of tears just reeling over the pain and turmoil that many youth are experiencing in times of crisis. These are times that many adults would never want to encounter in their lives, but are being faced by your everyday teen looking for that glimpse of light.
For me, these times have highlighted for me the importance of providing that presence in young people’s lives that can show them just how loved they truly are. It’s something so simple that we can miss, but can be so powerful if we realized how important spending the time with a young person can be.
So many times, we see youth everyday and they are seen as someone else’s problem, someone else’s child, and are ignored. They feel that, trust me; this coming from a kid that struggled with that feeling that I was a problem and not someone that could be loved. It was not until I could come to terms and know that I was not only loved unconditionally by family and friends, young and old, but also by a God that loves us to the point of giving the gift of life. It was the moment that I found a blinding light in a time of darkness. If it was not for my family, friends and youth leaders growing up, I am not sure how dark my life would be and I am thankful for them each and every day.
They did not do anything special, they just loved me. Something we all can do for young people in our own lives and make more a difference than we can even imagine.
I look at the gospels and I read about how Jesus was there for many in dark times: hated by society, shunned because of their ailments, pariahs to many. That did not matter to Jesus, he was there in human form and is there today for us all when we need him the most.
Youth take on those roles today and feel like there is no way they can be anything else. We can shine that light that we have experienced in our own lives and offer access to a life changing love offered to all. All it takes is being there.
Being there means taking the time to listen to a kid when many haven’t. Being there means saying hello to the kid who can’t look up on the sidewalk. Being there means playing a game of pool with a young person and talking to them about their struggles. Being there is sharing about the hard times that you have faced and still face as we grow each and every day. It’s about being there, period.
The darkness they can face is crippling, with little hope waiting for them. By someone taking the time to talk to them and let them know just how loved they are, their lives can be changed for the better.
This is why Switch Yard exists. To be there and share in a simple and tangible way the love God has shown us through the life and sacrifice of Jesus. Be the light in the darkness and remember that though it can be as simple as saying hello, you can make a difference.

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