Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm Coming Home

Tonight we picked up eldest child from church camp. He had been gone all week. I missed him terribly. But I knew he was having fun.

Upon arrival, son waved, smiled and continued walking the other way. Had I been holding cash and his cell phone, I probably could have gotten a much warmer reception. But as it was, I at least got acknowledged in front of his friends.

We walked UP the biggest hill I've walked up in a long time. I really began wondering if there was a rope to repel on the way back down.

As if I didn't already know I was out of shape, this hill kicked my ever-lovin' butt and proved it. I heaved and huffed and sighed as I climbed up and up and up. Youngest child chattered incessantly next to me as she literally skipped up Mt. Saint Something to son's cabin to pick up his gear.

She did offer some encouragement when she saw me struggling. She said, "Daddy hated this hill, too." OK. Thanks.

We went in to the UN-AIR CONDITIONED cabin (read: I will NEVER, EVER attend this camp) to collect son's things. It was quaint. It reminded me of my summer camps as a young person: the hot, sticky days; the ice cold showers; swimming in the green lake; eating the camp food. Good times...

After we collected everything, we got to carry it back down the hill to the car. It wasn't as exhausting going down as up, naturally. However, my gracefulness has been in serious question for most of my life. Going down a gravel, steep hill, carrying 25+ pounds of shifting luggage is never a good idea for a person who can't walk through a doorway without hitting one side or the other. Amazingly, I made it down unscathed, and we got the luggage to the car.

Then we got to watch the awards and the video of the camp. It did look like a ton of fun! Son was thrilled to have achieved so much athletically. And his highlight was to discover that he was a very good, natural marksman for shooting cans with bb guns.

I have nothing against guns. Particularly when being taught the proper, respectful way to handle them, as they were at camp. However, I must admit, I had never really thought of target shooting as being a Christian Church Camp activity. I amused myself for quite some time thinking of all the jokes and puns that could be associated with it; some a little tacky, I'll confess.

After the awards, several of the campers had made their profession of faith, and went down to the river to be baptized.
It was a really cool experience! Being outside with nature, on a hot evening, in a very secluded spot- virtually untouched by civilization- I imagined what it must have been like back in Jesus' day. There was no microphone system. The minister wore shorts and a tee-shirt (no robes or vestments). And the small children played quietly on the ground while the parents looked on. It was really meaningful.

We got to visit with friends and enjoy the evening before we plucked up our little campers and took them home.

When we got in the car, I realized that son was not just tired- he was exhausted. He had no voice. He looked like he had been out in the sun with no sunscreen for a little too long. His teeth appeared to have never seen a toothbrush, an observation aggravated by his braces. And he had some killer mood swings- from being really happy about his fun times to being terribly sad about all of the things he imagined could happen to his family and loved ones while he was in the dark in bed at night.

He didn't want to call anyone because his throat hurt. But he talked non-stop on the way home, which I took as definitive proof that he had a blast.

I miss church camp and all of the wonderful memories and fabulous friends. But if I were to go now, I would want to be in a Bed and Breakfast or a nice hotel with room service. I am a product of modern day conveniences, and I crave my creature comforts.

Cold showers, bad food and no air conditioning is an option for us. We are fortunate to have it be an option. It is a blessing to have all of the things we have. And I don't forget for a minute how other people don't have those options available to them.

But I don't feel the need to be hot, sticky and stinky to be with God. And I don't think He cares one way or the other. I think He's just glad to have us want to hang out with Him. And I know His heart must have been full-to-bursting this week with over 100 kids gathering together for Him.

My son will take this with him and it will stay with him for a long time. And next year he should be able to go to the church camp I attended (the one with air conditioning and hot showers and fairly decent food) for 7 years, and was a counselor for 3 years.

Traditions are wonderful. And I'm glad my son has had the opportunity to be a part of so many special traditions his friends have shared with him. I hope they will continue to share in the years to come.

And, I also, selfishly, hope for camps without as many hills...

Blessings & Peace

1 comment:

ThePrincessMommy said...

Is church camp anything like band camp?? Just wondering . . .