Today I woke up jet-lagged.
Or rather, I struggled to wake up because I was jet-lagged.
But, 2 cups of tea and a donut later, I had made it to the office, and was propped up at my computer going through the hundreds of emails that had arrived in my absence.
That has to be the worst part of returning to the office post holiday.
The inevitable catch-up-overload.
And that every single person who has sent every single email assures you that they are in desperate need of your immediate attention.
However, my team were in wonderful spirits and the excitement of catch ups and story telling ensured that the morning got off to a great start.
A great start that continued until 10.30am.
Now, we work with a lot of young people.
Young people of all shapes and sizes. Young people with all kinds of backgrounds and barriers.
And I love my job.
I really do.
But when one young person arrived, just as the clock turned to 10.30, I knew the morning was going to get ‘interesting’.
And possibly not the Monday morning you want to welcome you back from leave.
This girl was frantic.
Her life is chaotic.
Her desperation evident.
And her communication loud and angry at the world, the team, and anyone else within ear shot.
So she swore and she slammed and she raged.
And as we tried to listen and support and help, she simply continued to swear, and slam and rage.
And more explosively.
Until she picked up a glass, shattered it in the most explosive way possible, and expletively screamed her way out of the building.
Now, we have worked with this girl for a long time.
We will continue to.
And we are in it for the long haul.
This is not the first outburst she has had. Nor will, I imagine, it be the last.
Her story is heartbreaking, and filled with tragedy that I can only wish I could have spared her from.
So as we picked up pieces broken glass and regrouped to reflect as a team, I was struck by the apparent hopelessness of this work without a belief in the redeeming and complete healing power of Jesus.
Because I genuinely believe that despite all our best human efforts, only He can save sinners and heal the deep pain and anguish that exists in the lives of so many.
But my hope is that He can.
And that He does.
And that He will.
And I was struck again with the reminder of how He so graciously and lovingly welcomes us back mistake after mistake and failure and failure, and just keeps on loving with a relentless and enduring and infinite capacity of love.
The love that changes everything.
And that with the anointing of that same love, through the power of Holy Spirit, we can keep on loving young people past the swearing, and the slamming and the raging, and through the crying and the tears and the healing, and into the fullness of new beginnings and fresh starts.
Because He is the God of second chances. And third. And fourth. And…
And His kindness leads us to repentance.
This infinite and unmeasurable kindness.
That we are privileged to pour out to others. As He has poured out on us.
So I am back. And I am busy. But I am blessed.