As in much of the world, things here in Hungary have been out of the normal lately. Schools are closed for the time being, and along with that, we have canceled our English clubs until further notice. Usually we have two conversational English clubs during the week, one in Budapest and one in Vác, a town nearby.
While I am someone who typically loves for things to be canceled (cancellations make my life less hurried without me having to choose what to cut out—that is the dream!), I have found myself missing English clubs. But more specifically, I have found myself missing the community these clubs create and the teenagers that make up that community.
Another thing I really love is consistent, scheduled time with people who I care about. For a while, I had a friend here in Hungary who I would run with every Tuesday morning. We would meet at the river, the halfway point between us, go for a run, and then head our separate ways. When she found out she was pregnant, we started going on walks instead. When her baby was born, I would go to her house on Friday at lunch time every week. Now that she has moved away, we call each other once a week, usually the same day each time.
These times always filled and continue to fill my soul. They make me feel secure in my friendship with her, knowing that whatever comes up or happens during the week, even if we didn’t speak at all, I will always have that uninterrupted time with her at some point. Even if we have to cancel one week, the pattern and consistency remain the same. I can count on that, and our relationship has stayed deep through a lot of change as a result.
English club is kind of like this friendship. The club in Vác has been a part of my Fridays for almost three years now. It has grown, it has changed, but I still get to see many of the same kids and staff every single week. I have watched these kids grow in wisdom and knowledge. I have watched them struggle. I have watched them achieve. I have watched them mature. I have gotten to celebrate success with them, pray for tests for them, and heard so many funny stories from their lives. They have taught me lots of things. Together, as we explore all kinds of topics, from Biblical texts to learning styles, to whether or not we would survive on a desert island, we grow in friendship and community.
Sometimes I take English clubs for granted, but in this season without them, it is not hard to see that the Lord has truly blessed my life with these teenagers during the last three years. Maybe right now, you are stuck at home with your teenager. I pray that in this season, you would get to see how wise they already are and truly value this extra time you get to spend with them. Maybe ask them some hard questions. I can almost guarantee their answers will surprise you.