so, when are you wanting to go back, my mother inquires.
wait, go back where?
back to school. when do you want to move back into OC?
it's not time for THAT again, is it?! already?!
where did this summer go? whose idea was it to be this short? what a strange summer it was, too. i begin to think about camp, and what a sub-par camp counselor i was this summer, as compared to last summer. i realize it's unfair to compare two different times in your life to each other, but be real. i didn't start being a 'good' camp counselor (which i define as somebody who is completely willing to give up their comfort, insecurities, inhibitions, problems, to help their campers have the best time possible and to keep them safe) until maybe the last week of camp. i was in such a rut for the first part of the summer, i just couldn't climb out of it. what was the deal with that? why was i so distracted? why was i so preoccupied with other things? why was i so worried about how my actions would affect others' opinions of me? why couldn't i just be free of all those things so i could fully minister to my kids? why was i getting so frustrated with how things were being run? how disappointing it all was. how disappointed i was in myself all summer.
to understand my reasons for comparing this summer to last summer, you must first understand how camp truly changed my life.
working at camp loughridge last summer was an absolute fluke. after my plans (hopes, dreams) fell through with something else i was to do last summer, i remembered my friend who had worked at loughridge in summers past. i thought about it, and thinking it undesirable, kept it in the back of my mind for a few more weeks while i met with people on campus, desperately scrambling to find a youth internship or something, anything i could do. all the internships were filled up, though, since it was the beginning of april, and everybody knows how fast they go. but it's not like i even wanted an internship anyway. i wanted to do what i'd been planning on doing for years, but that didn't happen. so here i am, about two weeks left in my freshman year, with absolutely NO plans whatsoever with my summer. i couldn't work in the restaurant i used to work at through high school, they closed. all i knew was that i would live at home (love that), and my parents would make me find a job. then, remembering loughridge, i had sam make some phone calls, and i filled out an application. i had an awkward 45 minute phone interview (since it was finals week and i couldn't go home to do it), and was basically guaranteed the job. cool. i don't even know if i want to spend my summer with kids. i don't even know if i trust myself with that much power over children. at this point, i'm still heartbroken and upset about my first plans falling through, but i'm slightly relieved that i don't have to go job hunting once i get home, most likely landing a job at panera or target or something lame like that. or babysitting all summer.
i've never really been an outdoorsy girl. our family (save my brother) has never really been all about family vacations hiking or climbing mountains or camping or anything, at least since i've been born. i'd never really been friends with people who liked to camp on the weekends or anything like that. so the thought of being outside, all day long, in the oklahoma summer, wasn't the most appealing to me. also, at this point in my life, i was really searching for who God was, and who He was to me. i wasn't doing so hot with my friends at school, because i really didn't know who i was. and the 'me' i'd been all year was really not a very fun person to choose to spend all your time with. not only did my friends come to this realization, but i did too. i really didn't like myself, i didn't like the person i chose to be when i started all over at OC. but who else could i be? who was i? who am i? now, i have to do it all over again, meet a bunch of new people, and work in the hot sun with them. i was sure i would be the crankiest person on staff, consistently complaining about the heat, sweating buckets, looking ugly.
God, is this where You want me to be? really? i mean, this really isn't my thing.
it's strange to think i ever thought these things. after the first week of camp, i showered my Lord with thanks, gratitude, and apologies. camp rocked my world. i've never been so spiritually refreshed as i was during my first summer at loughridge. i was a different person. i am a different person. camp happened to me, and i will never be the same. now, i LOVE to be outside. i LOVE getting opportunities to love people, to serve people, to minister to children and to my peers, to encourage encourage encourage, to let go of all my inhibitions and pour out the love that Jesus has put inside me, and to trust that He will fill me up the next day with more.
it hurts me to know that i couldn't do that this year, not as much. i held back, because i thought i needed to keep some of that love for me, as a reserve for the love i've given away in the last year that has not been given back; will never be given back. i felt i had to protect myself; that if i loved too much, there wouldn't be any left for me, because that's the pattern as of late. that i couldn't risk giving it all up.
what a faulty line of thinking.
the risk is in not loving enough. the risk is in keeping some back for a rainy day. yes, perhaps i'd been burned before, when i gave up too much love, but i didn't differentiate the difference between that and really loving the children. see, you can perhaps over-love your friends (which i often do), over-love in your romantic endeavors, over-love causes, and you can get hurt by making yourself vulnerable. what i had forgotten is that you cannot over-love children. kids can't take advantage of your love; turn it back around on you and leave you with nothing. they can't say that's nice that you love me, but i refuse to reciprocate, leaving you on your knees. my point is, my faith crisis is, i didn't trust enough to completely give all of myself. i didn't trust that God will come back tomorrow, filling me to overflowing with the Love that i must pour out before the day's end. i didn't trust in the innocence of the children i worked with, always paranoid that they would take my love and run away with it, coming back for more only once they'd wasted it all, like a prodigal son.
why was i so selfish with my love? why was i so hesitant to trust a bunch of 8-year olds with it? why couldn't i let go of past experiences and give my love away freely, without expecting any in return?
i have learned much this summer, and there is still much to learn about myself and my capacity to love. as shane claiborne puts it in the irresistible revolution, Jesus has 'ruined my life' this summer, causing me to think long and hard about mistakes i have made and learn to not make them again. he has put people in my life to show me how i should love. people who aren't afraid to say hey, i like what you're doing, but let me show you a better way through their actions and words. people who have been the repository of Christ's love, and who i want to model myself after. this summer wasn't a waste. it happened. it was not the best, in fact, it may have been the worst. but i can't wait for Him to build me back up, this time with knowledge and resources to better serve, to better minister, to better love those around me.
this darkness that has taken up residence over my mind and my heart is a pain i am ready to be rid of. but i can feel that the sun will be up soon, and it will be just a memory.
'i have no doubt, one day the sun will come out'