It was just another Sunday back in 2008. Our family all got up, went to church, and I went up to the youth group like I was supposed to. Even though I disliked it immensely (another post for another day) . As a freshman, I gathered in the appropriate room and prepared myself to face another youth group gathering. There were a few new guys and gals in the room, per usual, they went about introducing them. One of them was named Josiah- clearly a homeschooler. (We can just tell these things) So, when he introduced himself, I of course, was given the task of making him feel welcome, since that homeschool thing labeled him as such.
My gut reaction inside was “What?! I’m stuck with him?!” I wasn’t the friendly sort in that crowd. I had been burned to many times, I wan’t chasing girls, I didn’t play video games, I didn’t care about music that much. Hearing I was to make one of “these people” welcome… Well, let me tell you, it didn’t still well with me. I gave it my best go though, and when in sunday school and afterwards, made it a point to at least make small talk- where he came from, what he enjoyed, etc.
Two things stood out to me in those first conversations. One, that he was an incredible sharp minded dude. He didn’t talk much, less than me actually, but when he did, it was solid and had depth. Two, that he wasn’t a “Typical youth” rather, he was a young man who had purpose and who had a foundation rooted in Christ. The conversations we had were actually serious, and we had several shared interests. I was impressed, to say the least, and we clicked pretty much instantly.
His family eventually joined the homeschooling group, and they joined a different church. We wound up doing almost everything together in high school. He introduced me to TeenPact, which changed my life. We went to Worldview academy, played against each other on different baseball teams. We did all kinds of academic activities, talked about the tough stuff we were trying to figure out, and gave each other a hard time about his CAP neediness, and my Sci-fi Geekery. He became my best friend, and God brought him round when I needed one most.
What’s the point of all that sentimentality?
Well, reflecting on this a few days ago, I just realized (and am still realizing) that even in the most unpleasant settings, at the most random times, God will bring a person or event into your life that will, quite literally, change your life. I just think about what my life would be like had I not engaged “the new guy” in a conversation, if I had just ignored him like most new people were ignored. How much I would have missed and grown in high school, and continue to grow in today.
While I do believe there is no such thing as a “missed” opportunity, there is such thing as an ignored opportunity. Even in the strangest or most difficult settings, when those opportunities arise, don’t ignore them and Don’t pass them by, unless you have really prayed and thought about it. Because honestly, We have no idea what experiences, relationships, or growth will come out of them. I for one, would prefer not to find out.
What things have you learned out of seemingly nowhere? Any rejoicings or regrets? Share them below!