Just Five Minutes

by Katie Lucchesi

I wish you'd had just 5 minutes in my shoes. Just 5 minutes. It's a funny thing - when I was chosen as the Steubenville intern at the Office of Youth Ministry back in January, I had NO idea that I would be wishing that everyone at that conference had the luck of spending just 5 minutes in my shoes - my incredibly blessed 3-year-old Adidas tennis shoes.

I was the girl who was semi-involved in my youth group since my junior year of high school at St. Clement of Rome. I never really took it to the next level back then, but recently have found my calling to be in youth ministry and declared myself a theology major when I started at SLU. When I requested working as an intern, free of pay, at this quaint, end of the hallway bunch of offices in the quietest building in St. Louis, I was completely terrified. It didn't take me long to realize that I was feeling the happiest I'd felt in a long time. Sure we worked really hard, but we also laughed and played, including a little soccer in the hallway (shhh...dont remind Sr. Consolata). One of the most enjoyable moments was the daily prayer at noon. Right before we stopped to eat, we spent about 20 minutes in a quiet, simplistic room praying for the youth of the archdiocese and everything else on our hearts. It was a perfect way to calm myself in the middle of the day and, more importantly, remind myself who I am living and doing all this for...our heavenly Father. Working at the OYM is one of those things where you wish you could find the right words; the real, powerful, meaningful words to tell everyone that your heart is just bursting from the seams with happiness because of working in this office with these people...but sadly, I can't find the words to do the true feeling justice. For once, money didn't matter. Even after my paying job was put off for weeks just so that I could do Steubenville prep, I realized that I still woke up smiling every day, despite knowing I wasn't getting paid. Everyone told me it was more about the "experience," which unfortunately I still didn't grasp the significance of. However, to be brutally honest, no matter how many times I loved getting up to go there to work and the bliss I felt leaving every single day, I was still burdened by the money that I was not making.

After hours, days, weeks and months of preparing for this amazing conference, I will totally admit that I became stressed. The sweat stains on my t-shirt showed within only hours of registration being open on Friday. After running all over campus and sometimes even driving that wickedly cool golf-cart doing little in-between jobs, Friday night finally came. I was overwhelmed by the teens. Sure, I had been to a conference before and I had seen the 2013 teens praising our Lord. However, the minute I got to my seat in the front row (yeah...OYM does have a lot of perks!), everything changed. If anyone saw me sitting down there, I was constantly turning my head around just to see everyone. To see all the teens with their hands raised screaming with Adam and the band the name of our amazing God. That is when it hit me. THIS is why we do hours upon hours of work. THIS is the reason the staff works in exhausting conditions, frustrated beyond belief at times, and does everything they do. THIS reason was all of you - the teens, the chaperones, the volunteers. THIS reason cannot even be described, it just had to be something you saw with your own two eyes. And yes, every seat in the house was a good one, but lucky for me, I got to see all 2000+ of them. For me, the whole weekend was a glimpse of heaven, but Friday night really did me in. The excitement had been building for months and the time had finally come. I cocked my head around to look at one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my almost 20 years. To look up at everyone singing at the top of their lungs and filling the air with more joy than can be described with words, I could truly feel Jesus around me. If I had the power, every teen in that auditorium would have sat in my seat for just 5 minutes. Five minutes to just see what I got to see. Five minutes in my shoes that completely changed my attitude and my reason for working at the OYM. Sure, driving a golf cart and having a radio headset weren't too bad either, but what it really came down to was seeing something so unforgettable that most people in our world will never get to see. Any day of working for free as an intern over the past 3 months didn't matter, any person who made the job a little harder, the hours a little longer, and the stress a little greater, none of those things mattered. Lucky for me, I got more than 5 minutes in those shoes, and I'm incredibly blessed and thankful for the OYM staff who gave me such a great opportunity. It was an experience of a lifetime working at the OYM, and especially at the Steubenville conference. It's one of those jobs you can't believe you got so lucky to land, and I did! I made some awesome friends, grew so much deeper in my faith, and gave my life back to God. Every day was completely worth it, and I could not be more excited to come back next summer! All I know is that God is so good, and He gives us so much happiness and so much joy in the simplest things, and it doesn't take that long either! Just think about it, the next time you're standing in your 3-year old Adidas wishing you could share with someone else just 5 minutes in your shoes, it probably means that those 5 minutes are life changing, just like the 5 I experienced that night.