Friend in Residence for Junior Gathering: So what exactly do you do?
I had a couple of official duties which I will write about later.
Mainly, it was walking around, visiting all the different children’s groups, just listening and praying for people. I had two main questions for staff: How are you doing? What are you doing to feed your spirit today? (On Wednesday, that was modified to, “How are you going to get some rest today?”) Just asking and having time to listen to the answers seemed to be enough. One of the things I found myself saying was, “I have no authority to fix your problem, but I will pray for you.” And people would smile and say “That’s enough. Thank you.”
Two important tools for the week: a package of tissues, and sandals I couldn’t run in. I had this sense of walking across campus infused with the Holy Spirit, of holding each group, each Friend I had been with in the Light. It felt really good. (Ok, not all the time, I had moments of irritation and confusion too, but I had more time feeling held by the Spirit than not.)
My most important tool for the week was a smile. I tried to walk into each room, whether classroom, office or bathroom, and just smile at people. Partly because I was having fun and felt like smiling. But also because I wanted to be clear that I wasn’t coming in with another problem for the staff, just an offer to be of service. Smiling also gives the other person a chance to re-find their smile. Most days, I also made a trip to the room with the babies, just to refill on smiles, so I’d have enough to go around the rest of the day.
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