The meeting was not going the way I’d envisioned.

I’ve got a style to my meetings, and I stick pretty closely to it. Focused and snappy.

But this wasn’t my meeting. It was my study circle’s meeting, and despite my best intentions I was getting pretty frustrated.

I went to the kitchen for some more tea and a chance to clear my head, which is when I caught sight of Jasmine, playing with the cat near the dining room table.

I sat down next to her. “You bored?” I asked.


“Me too.” It was true, after all. I grabbed a cracker and some hummus and ate it. The hummus was homemade and fabulous. After I finished it, I continued talking.

“You know, the cool thing about all this, is pretty soon you’re going to be older, and we’ll start one of these groups for you at your house.”

No reaction. I thought of one of her friends from the neighborhood who’d been coming to children’s classes for a while.

“We can invite Megan, too.”

Her eyes got wide. “And Christina?”

“Yeah! Because you’re going to get bored with the class for the little girls soon.”

“No way. I’m going to be in children’s class forever.”

“Of course you can still come. But we’ll have a group just for you and your friends who are older, too.”

She thought about that. “Cool.”

The meeting was not going the way I’d envisioned.

But this wasn’t my meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was ostensibly to provide information to young people and their parents about the junior youth spiritual empowerment program. But really, it was to give my study circle experience in explaining it.

They weren’t doing it the way I would do it. But they were doing it. Just as with junior youth, I had to have the courage to quit being a fretful gatekeeper and let them step out onto the path of service on their own terms. And the next time we meet, we’ll  reflect on the meeting, and they’ll learn a lot more from their successes and failures than they ever would have from mine. We’ll celebrate the accomplishment.

And then we’ll get back to work.