Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Truth about being a Religious Educator

I am really not sure how this has happened, but I've been a religious educator for a long time, now. I'm not the skin horse, yet, I'm not the wise old toy in the nursery who explains the truth to the Velveteen Rabbit, but when a new religious educator asks for advice or information, I have some things to say. It still surprises me a little that I've been around for a while. It seems like just yesterday I was figuring out how to turn the lights on at church. In cynical moments I could say that it's gone by so fast because I haven't had time to look up from what I'm doing! But those moments go by quickly. I love what I do. I love my work. And it's worth all the busy rush and the Sundays that last 13 hours and still aren't long enough.

What I love about my job:

People. Big people and little people, people who come and empty all the garbage and recycling in the building every single week, people who sit across from me and make me laugh so hard I can't remember what I was doing and no longer care anyway, people who teach when they are too busy to teach and love it, people who deal with cranky teens in the moments when I just really want them all to convert to some other faith and people who show up and do the things that just need to be done again and again.

Spirit. I love getting to talk about that magical spark that is the essence of being and to see it at work in young people. There's no need to be politically correct--we're on the same page about this one (although we don't all use the same words to talk about it.) Our young ones are so much closer to the wild truth that everyone is a miracle, when you tell them that they are made of star stuff, you can almost see on their faces "I knew it!"

Love. In all the work I did before this,  there was never a formal place for the power of love. As religious educators we get to celebrate the power and grace of love, every single day!

Worship. Being a part of making the magic that becomes worship is an honor and a gift. Inviting a group of children and adults into silent prayer--and hearing the sweet twittery stillness?  Amazing.

Colleagues. I love the religious professionals I serve with at the church I work for. I couldn't ask for a more skilled and supportive team. But the work I do would be absolutely impossible if it were not for my brother and sister religious educators. They are the sun and the stars and the moon and if I were not able to be in their presence on a regular basis--both virtually and in person I would have shriveled up and left the work years ago, I would have been one of the short timers. I love my colleagues. And the longer I'm in this work, the more I realize just how lucky I am to do this work, and know these people. It's a blessing.

The truth is, I am wildly luck to be a religious educator and even luckier to know the people it brings to my life.