Relationally Rejuvenated

It was another beautiful day at Shepherd Community Center. We woke up (rather sluggishly, I’ll admit 🙂 ) to a bright blue spring sky and robins singing in the tree branches. As we reach the halfway point of our spring break trip, we’re processing more and more the deeper themes behind our trip.

I’ll speak for myself for the most part, though I know that many of the team members have felt the same way as I have. I think our team as whole is quite exhausted. Our mornings are early, our nights are late, and our energy is poured out for the kids at Shepherd in the time in between. I guess the students in our classrooms are filled with so much excitement and a joy and a life that it’s hard for us college students to replicate. Still, we’ve each grown unimaginably fond of our new friends. It was just today that a 4-year-old girl came up to me and hugged me around the middle for several moments, unashamed and innocent. I was glad to wrap my arms around her slender shoulders. The kids shower me with affection on a daily basis. They give shy, sidelong smiles during reading time, and they sneakily slip their hands into mine as we walk down the hallway. While I haven’t seen it personally, I know from their stories that the others have felt just as loved by their students. We can’t help but love them in return.

However, our immense love for the kids at Shepherd means that goodbyes will be incredibly difficult. Tomorrow is our last day to see them. As soon as the school day ends, the students will roll away in their car seats to enjoy their own spring breaks, and we’ll be left without any assurance that we will see them again. I know we will genuinely miss our Shepherd kids. I also truly believe that we will be missed by them as well.

-Clayton Cina

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