1 October 2012
Sometimes we seek growth - in all sorts of ways, for example, by enrolling in further education. Other times we go through growth never quite understanding what is going on: as a small child my parents made me eat vegetables to ‘make me grow strong’ and I remember this being particularly painful!
But why? Why is it that growth is sometimes uncomfortable or painful? I wonder if it’s because without it we wouldn’t be able to rejoice as much in the result.
Over the past 10 years it has filled me with excitement to consider that each day, each conversation or new insight means our lives are now different because we have lived a moment that we hadn’t before. Sometimes these moments do cause discomfort as what we had been before learns to adjust, whether we want to or not, and then we find that we have grown in many different directions. Speaking horticulturally, we are able to put down roots, pushing through the ground past rocks , around obstacles searching for nutrients and stability: and we can reach ever higher, stretching ourselves, searching for light, warmth and a chance to bloom. We can expand outwards, negotiating space, increasing our capacity and becoming ever more fruitful.
It is this kind of expansive growth that we are negotiating at the moment with our Wednesday Junior Club as numbers push 40 and rising: – how do we maintain our work and ‘bear the weight’ of so many? We noted in our staff debrief this week that changes may be necessary to ensure the best for our young people who attend but uncomfortable for us– growing pains we called it. We love the free-flowing nature of the club and know that the way it runs is alright, for the moment, maybe… But we have also tasted the joy of growth and recognise the opportunities that this growth and change presents for relational youth work and the building of community and that we will rejoice with many more once we work out the best way to adjust.
To relax, one of my favourite things is meandering around large gardens and I often notice that the gardeners, as well as pruning plants back to ensure better growth, also, as plants grow upwards and outwards, put supports in place.
For Junior Club, I think supports are going to come, amongst other things, in the form of more adult volunteers.