Sunday, June 25, 2006
I love camp....
Dear Mom (Okay...this letter isn't really to my mom, but it just seems like the right "person" to address a letter from camp to):
I love camp....just like I do every year. I love everything about it. I love the sounds of camp. The trickle of the little "brook" that runs past my cabin from up the mountain on its way to the lake just below the lodge. The wind through the pines and aspens that sighs and murmurs in a language that is spoken only here. The laughter of teens on the lawn as they discover how to be children again under the canopy of a cloudless Colorado sky. The symphony of splashing and screeching that extends like ripples from the lake and reaches my cabin beckoning me to join by the water's edge and watch the dance of campers in a bizarre sort of water ballet. Hymns wafting through the night air as cabin counselors sing their campers to sleep. For me these sounds are the voice of God's song in my heart. I long for them throughout the year the way a lost wanderer keens towards the music of his homeland drifting from the golden light of the doorway in a wayside inn.
I love camp....I love the feast of Soul that feeds my eyes throughout the days and nights. A counselor with her arm around a homesick camper. A tired and disoriented hummingbird sitting in the hand of a gangly teen who has helped her find her way out of the lodge where she lost her bearings. A group of campers sitting on the lawn reading and discussing Bible stories within the context of their own relevant adventures in spiritual discovery. A young man with tempera facepaint laughing as he is captured in a game of Eco-stragego when only an hour earlier he had seemed sullen and "too cool" for child's play. A girl with her horse discovering a form of communication only a girl with a horse can understand. The afternoon light reflecting off the wet shoulders of teens bobbing in a clear mountain lake. These visuals are the mental photographs I cherish throughout the year. To see them come to life and move before my eyes for yet another summer is a gift from a very generous and kind God.
I love camp....I love the smell of marshmallows toasting in the fireplace in Valerie Lodge on a rainy night with a group of girls singing Disney songs while dancing like sprites on a midsummer's eve. The scent of crushed pine needles beneath my feet as I walk through the cool midnight air to respond to the needs of a homesick camper. The aroma of the barbecue on Sunday afternoon while campers sit on the lawn and on porches marking their Bibles and copies of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures for the next week's spiritual study they will engage in every morning. The sweet perfume of shampoo and baby powder that floats in the air after everyone has returned from the river and the trails for showers before flag lowering by the lake. These scents remind me that God's tender beauty is redolent in this world and that I can never be outside of its reach if I will only slow down, close my eyes, and breathe deeply.
I love camp....I love the taste of tears that fall down my cheeks each time I drive through the gate and realize that God has blessed me with one more year of heaven on earth. I love the taste of charred marshmallows mixed with the bark from the long stick they were roasted on. I love the taste of triumph I see a camper savoring when she conquers fear or surmounts self-doubt. I love the taste of freedom I detect in a young man who has discovered that being a man of integrity is sweeter than finding his way around the rules. Each savored moment of grace is a delicacy that doesn't just tempt, but satisfies and fills the heart with God's bounty.
I love camp....I love the feel of a camper's arm linked in mine as we walk into the woods for a moment of privacy to talk about God's love for him. The feel of the soft evening wind in my hair as I watch almost one hundred young men and women sit silently for an hour listening for inspiration during "Alone with Your Thoughts" on a cool summer's evening. The touch of a counselor's hand on my shoulder at dinner alerting me to the spiritual needs of a camper who longs for comfort or a reminder that God's love is even closer than my hand in hers. The weight of my spiritual sidekicks, the Bible and Science and Health, in my arms as I gather these vital tools and head off to the corral to pray with a camper and her horse. I love feeling my heart leap when a camper shares with me his inspiration from that morning's prayer and it meets my exact need for spiritual nourishment in that very moment. I love feeling the damp warmth of a rafter's hug after a day on the river where she has overcome fear and found freedom in the midst of what could have been a whitewater crisis...something we had prayed about together that morning before she left. I love each touch, each firm yet gentle reminder that God's care reaches through the abstract and obtuse, the distant and aloof to place a tender and divine hand on our lives.
I just love camp....