Hayley James

sustaining youth workers - good friends and space to enjoy them

by mjjames23/02/2010


Last week I had a lovely spur of the minute visit from 2 of my very best friends. They phoned on Thursday to tell me they were coming on Sunday. Now, normally I'm the type of girl who needs to have everything planned in well in advance, to make sure I have time off ,and have organised things to do and the like. But this visit wasn't like that at all and it was amazing. I was preaching on the Sunday evening at a youth event, to which my guests gladly came along and then working Monday evening which they joined in with too. And we had an absolutely fabulous time!!!

We were able to have some time together to just chill out in those two days, and as they decided to stay an extra night once they were here, we also got to have a day of adventuring on the mersey. It was a fantastic 3 days.

It was so refreshing to just take time to have fun, chill out and be unorganised for once. These friends in particular have a tendency for the crazier side of life and for a few days it was great to be able to let go and enjoy life.

This got me thinking about the need we have for good friends and the space to enjoy them. Youth work as a profession can often be a very lonely place, especially when we work on the opposite time scale to most employed people. This can make it very difficult for us to maintain friendships outside of our 'work' circle or start up new relationships with others. Which can often result in further feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Having my friends to stay reminded me of the need I have for close intimate relationships with people I can be myself with (especially outside of my work circle). People with whom I can share my life, struggles, hopes and questions. People who will love and support me, Hayley, the person, (not just the youth worker) and who will keep me on track pulling me up when I'm going the wrong way. And mostly friends who I can have fun with, let go and enjoy life with.

If we are going to be in this ministry for the long term, I think its something we all need. And not just the friends part, but the time to enjoy them too.

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Youth Work

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