The Reality of Youth Work

During our Spiritual Life program

As the past two months have gone by, I have found myself in new waters with a very unfamiliar and unsettling reality that I was warned about early on by my coworkers. Discouragement.

I had been trucking along for the last few months with not even a glimpse of such things until I woke up one morning and, suddenly, felt surrounded by it. While I was driving to the office to get some work done, I considered the possibility of this discouragement as a time to grow and I began to feel at peace. My mood lightened and I felt like I was able to continue my work with more enthusiasm than when I had awoken that morning.

Growth comes in the hardest of places and it always involves a struggle. However, the labour is never in vain. Sure enough, as with most things in life, this mental shift allowed me to cycle out of the discouragement. With this peace I had received, I was able to put myself to work and plan more meetings.

I have had the opportunity these past couple of weeks to go much deeper with some of the girls at Langley Secondary School. Their stories feel unbearable at times and I am shocked over and over again at their resilience in the hardships they face, especially when home and school do not feel safe. To be a part of their struggle is a beautiful privilege. The teenagers I work with are all inspiringly beautiful and unique in their very own way, which is why these personal relationships are so valuable. As much as I see the pain they experience, I am able to come alongside them in their greatest joys as well. This job really is not just a job but a life style.

This, really, is why this job is so awesome. Through the ups and the downs there is faithfulness which, ultimately, brings fruit. Occasionally there are opportunities to enjoy that fruit and I believe this past week has been an example of that. As surprising as this discouragement may have felt initially, I now see how it was used as an opportunity for me to grow and produce fruit, both in my work and in my life.

- Rachel Tapp


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