Sunday, July 17, 2011

For 21 years.

SO I spoke on the last saturday at camp.  I was the "sending forth" message-er.  Have I mentioned my dislike/extreme nerves of speaking?  In groups?  When I can't fill the air with sarcasm and humor?  I mean, not that those things were lacking.  It IS me.  But it makes me sweat.  That speaking thing.  However, this year I was fine with it.  I wasn't nervous.  Maybe it's because the week was filled to the brim.  Every hour of the day.  At least 17 hours of the day.  It's hard work, but I love it.  This year was challenging.  We combined to senior high camps.  2 Senior high camps that have been separate since the beginning of time.  Two groups of high school students who have always done it this way.  (I say it like that because all it takes is one year for kids to say they've always done something.)  Most importantly, it was 2 groups of ADULTS who have always done things a certain way--which is more true.  A lot of these adults have been volunteering at camp FOREVER and so everything is personal--because they wouldn't be there if it weren't.  They wouldn't show up and take a week of vacation if they didn't love it.  And you know... kids wouldn't cause trouble if they weren't kids.  So here's the gist of what I said--

I started coming to THIS camp 21 years ago.  I have missed camp 2x in those last 21 years.  Once, after my freshman year of college (when you aren't yet old enough) and last year... when I was having a baby.

In 1998 when I was a senior in high school--I met a boy here--and I liked him.  I would walk beside him and hold my hand down in hopes he would hold it, and he did.

In 2005 I married that boy.  My husband who I met at camp.  The place that was so important to me and here are a few things that stand out most about that day--other than getting married, of course.  1.  My veil got trapped in the door.  That music was running out and people were looking around nervously.  2.  I told Ben I felt like I was going to vom and he looked at me and said, "it's not the time nor the place."  3.  Serving my camp friends communion brought me to tears.  I'm an awkward laugher--meaning when I'm awkward, I laugh.  I laughed a majority of our service (other than the puking thing) and when I was brought to tears by serving them.

This camp isn't about the people who are here right now.  It isn't about this specific place--though it is holy ground.  This is an amazing place.  When you meet people at camp you are meeting them on a different level. Camp friends are forever friends.  They're just different.  It would be easy to stay here.  It's easy to be good.  It's easy to see God in one another.  It's easy to have fun.

Then I read Jeremiah 29:10-23.  Usually, people read 11.  You know the one where they talk about giving you hope and a future.  It's all about how God has plans for you.  I think that seems intangible--especially when people are leaving.  This also includes being sent out into exile.  Which for a lot of those kids it feels like.  They are being sent back home to a place where they don't feel known, where they have parents who don't love them as much as I love them, where they are peer pressured, where it's hard to make the right choice, where it's simply hard--but they are being sent there.  They will be called back.  They always have a place--but God is present even in the exile--especially with the exiled.

That place is holy.  That place is where I grew up.  That place is where I spent the entire summer before I got married.  That place is where a majority of my best friends have come from.  That place is beautiful and hot as blazes in the summer.  That place is where kids go to just be themselves--or maybe someone else for a change.

(more funny post to come--one about how I spent a lot of my time on a golf cart, holding the oh shiz handle, planking, and G's first camp picture.)


CDS said...

Awww that is so sweet. You may not enjoying speaking---but your words are honest and meaningful. That my friend is a gift.

Leanne...the walker said...

I love it. I have spent many summers, mid-winters, and retreats at camp and it is a very special place. Glen Lake is nice, but definitely not the same. God called me to seminary at camp, standing on the side at the cross, watching other students lead worship. There is so much peace up there. Thanks for sharing, friend! And I can TOTALLY understand the tension of combining SH1 and SH2!! You rock for taking on the challenge!!

Deana said...

Sometimes, through camp, you also get a Forever Other Sister along with your Forever Friend. Camp El Tesoro brought me Courtney. You, my darling friend, with your outrageously funny stories, boundless spirit, kind heart, wickedly sharp wit, and beautiful family are simply one of the best perks of all time.

I love, love, love this post. I think it is exquisite. Almost as much as you are.

Helen Hopkins said...

You make my heart feel very full of love, for you, for your thoughts and for your words. I love you and am so proud to call you daughter.

Jenny said...

I love this! Love that Bridgeport is where your family started and love that you are still serving others through this awesome camp. You go, Amanda B!