First off, driving up to Estes Park, CO I had to drive past the site where we had a really bad DWI crash here in NM about 1 week ago. You could see skid marks and stuff like that at the site of the crash. That brought me to tears as I drove thru that area & said a quick prayer for the surving member of that family. For those of you not from here, about 1 week ago a driver who was drunk out of his mind (blood-alcohol registered at .32, or four times the legal limit) made a u-turn on the interstate 25 just north of Santa Fe, NM. He plowed head on into a mini-van killing five members of a Las Vegas, NM family with the only survivor being their 15-year-old daughter. It's very tragic and sad. I think everyone in New Mexico knows someone who life has been affected by a drunk driver.
From there it was a nice drive up. I really enjoyed just getting out on the open road and driving and forgetting about stuff back in Albuquerque. It was also nice as I finally got to listen to the Barenaked Ladies concert that Kate and I went to 3 weeks ago. I stopped just south of Denver prop in a town called "Lone Tree" for lunch at a Panera Bread, which is something that we do not have in New Mexico, I know sad. LOL. Anyway, I wish I had known that the 17th was Denver's grand opening of the southern route of the RTD light rail cus I would have found another Panera Bread closer to or in Boulder as traffic out there was hell out in Lone Tree due to it. I so wanted to stop and ride it, but I had a schedule to keep up so I could not :(
Anyway, I made it up to the YMCA of the Rockies right around 2:15pm which was about 15 min before I needed to be there, so that was good. From there we got to meet everyone and got started on stuff we needed to do. Friday night basically was Opening Worship, CLIC groups (see bible study), and then Evening Prayer. The opening worship had a much different feel to it then we are used to for these Youth Gatherings as this year we were trying something very new. We were using the Renewing Worship stuff, which is much more somber, and reflective type of worship then the jump around type we have used for many years past. As much of a change is was, it was really nice, and I think by the end the High School'ers had really gotten into it.
Lights-Out on Friday night was midnight, and we still had to walk the halls to make sure everything was ok, and world war 3 was not going on. LOL. Really I thought Friday night was going to be worse then it was. I walked into my room at 11:55pm to grab something and the lodge was so freaking loud that I thought we were going to have issues. Well when I walked out of my room right at midnight all the sound just died to a really dead silence. Really it was creepy to hear it go from so loud to so quite that quick. So we walked the halls for a bit and then had a quick meeting at around 12:30am. I was in bed by about 1am which left me dead to the world tired since I had been up since 4am that morning.
Saturday morning we were back up around 6:30am to start the day again. We started with Morning Prayer (bet you did not see that one coming). From there we had Breakfast and I must say that the food this year sucked at the YMCA. In the past it was not bad but this year is was really bad. After Breakfast was over it was off to Worship which was more of the Renewing Worship stuff. After worship we had more of our CLIC Groups, which is just a different name for bible study. Now we used to know what CLIC meant, but over the years we have all forgotten what it means.
Anyway, I was a CLIC Group leader and I must say I had a great CLIC Group even if they were very ADD. The stuff we were given for the bible study I was able to blow thru really quick (yes I covered it all), so to kill time we started to talk about lots of other stuff, and somehow I still tied it all back into God. At one point when we were talking about we got done with one of our CLIC sessions, we got to some really heavy subjects and as scared as I was for the conversation to be going that way, it was good to see the youth talk about such deeps things and being serious about it.
After the CLIC groups was lunch in which one of the youth from All Saints in ABQ ended up hanging out with me and another Cornerstone member. Anyway for the afternoon we were very much on our own as it was free time. I ended up going into town with that youth and the other Cornerstone member. He really wanted to go into town and his chaperon was not going to be going into town, so we got permission for him to go with us. (I help out at his church and know everyone there really well, so there is that whole trust thing going on). Anyway it was a really nice time in town and I got to know the youth much better then I had known him before, which was really nice. We ended up eating dinner in Estes Park cus we really did not want to eat more of the YMCA food so that was a nice treat as well.
When we got back from town it was more CLIC, Worship, more CLIC, and then evening prayer. That night due to a billing issue with the YMCA, we had to knock on everyone's door and see how many people were sleeping in there room. We woke a lot more people up then we thought we would considering we started right at lights-out. I am not sure if that also caused the other people who would have been loud to calm down or what, but just like the night before we did not have an issue at all.
Sunday morning, I was up again bright at early at 6:30am. Before we went down to Morning Prayer, I was talking with the Cornerstone who went into town with youth from ASLC and I. It turns out where I was going to stop and get gas was right across the freeway from where she lives. So she called her parents who drove her up to Estes Park, and told them that I would just bring her home, to which the parents were happy since they did not have to make the 80 mile round trip drive. From the Morning Prayer there was breakfast. Now since the line was out the door for breakfast and we did not want to deal with that, we went back to our rooms and started to pack.
We got everything packed and loaded in my car and then went down for Breakfast which was OK, but still not that good. After breakfast we headed up to the auditorium where closing worship was going to be held. Once in there, I noticed the same youth who went into town with me sitting alone and he just had a look to him that something was wrong. So I went up, and sat next to him and asked him what was up. At first he was not really wanting to talk (which for this youth is weird), but he started to open up and started to talk to me about what was wrong. I should add that said youth is a freshman in High School this year, and basically what it boils down to is that he is starting to grow up, but his friends his age are not, and it's really making him kind of mad, which is in turn why we has hanging around with me the day before.
Basically everyone around him is still acting like a child, and he is getting to the point where he wants life to have more meaning. So we talked right up until closing worship started and even part way thru worship. I think he was felling much better by the end of worship about things and life in general. I must say, being able to minister to him was a really awesome experience. A really big highlight of the weekend if I can say so my self. After worship we started to break everything down and get it all packed up which I must say takes much less time then setting all this crap up.
After we got everything packed up and everything else done, we took off down the hill. Before we left Estes Park we stopped off at Starbucks and picked up a caffeine enriched beverage for the ride ahead of us. So after dropping off the person I took home in Louisville I drove thru Denver and started my trek home. I must say the amount of traffic on a Sunday afternoon going between Denver & Colorado Springs as freaking heavy as hell. Plus everyone was acting like New Mexico drivers (driving slow in the left lane), so we were really going slower then I wanted too, and for the most part going slower then the speed limit too.
Coming back I made good time too, making the trip in just under 8 hours which was nice. But since my job still goes on even when I am out of town, I still had to do the weekend backups at work. I think I was finally in bed around midnight on Sunday night. I was so freaking wiped out that I forgot to set my alarm (opps), so I was into work by 10am. LOL.
So I think that is it. I am sorry this was sooo freaking long, but that was my weekend. It was really freaking good and worth driving 16+ hours and over 1000 miles round trip in 2 days.