this summer has been crazy. that's the best one word to describe it. it's been fun, hard, testing, exhausting, rewarding, beautiful, and growing. so much more goes into living with and pouring into ten 12 yr old girls for 2 weeks, all while putting on events and activities for them. seems simple enough right? but then you throw in having to work free swim on campfire night and it's your cocounselor's day off and you need to build a fire and there's no wood but all your kids have disappeared except for one who is in the bathroom crying for some unspeakable reason. all normal, not really stressful things get combined into an oh-my-gosh-this-is-never-gonna-get-done mental breakdown. and then your girls walk up with firewood cause they were trying to help, but half of it is rhododendron and the other half is way too big to break or very tiny that won't keep a fire going. you want to scream at them, but you can't, you don't. you kindly say thanks girls! and remind them what rhododendron looks like and not to get it again and send them back out with good encouragement. though we didn't build fires everyday, similar things happened everyday, whether it be in relation to cleaning the cabin or food at meals or something... i think one of the biggest things i learned this summer was really how to put other's needs before mine. how if there were only 2 chicken tenders left and you and one girl hadn't gotten any and everyone else got 2, you give the 2 left to the girl and just eat bread for lunch. it's not always so material, i learned how to put others first with my emotions and thinking... learning how to restrain myself from snapping when i'm tired and relying on God's strength/patience/wisdom to get me through. and it was worth it. those girls thanked me in ways that didn't always know. they helped me to realize that even if i'm going to be a junior in college soon it's ok to act like i'm a kid again and go crazy. and one thing they really taught me was how to just be yourself. one of the many traits of a 12 yr old girl is that they're usually at that awkward stage where they're trying to fit in but they haven't developed a filter quite yet. they do and say what's on their mind without really thinking a whole lot, esp not about how it'll look to other people. though a filter is a much needed thing in this world, they reminded me to not care so much what others will think about what you do and say... it's better to be yourself than worry all the time.
another great thing about camp is just the consistent closeness to nature that it brought... hearing frogs and cicadas going to sleep everynight, getting to hike and see the sunrise and the mountains, getting to go swimming in a lake (well really a big pond) whenever it got hot, seeing a bear right by our cabin, stopping and looking up at night to see millions of stars placed there by my Creator. nature just speaks to me, it's so vividly and obviously a creation not a happening. i was reminded over and over just how great He is and that He's always with us and that He made things how they are for a reason, unique and a reflection of Him. i saw His creation everyday, in the form of nature surrounding me, in the girls in my cabin, in the staff i served beside.
it's one of those things where it was great and amazing and difficult while it was happening. you were usually glad you were there, but not always. you learn and grow a lot usually not in obvious ways but deep down ways that take time to realize. you form relationships that you love and know that you'll have to leave but can't think about that yet. and then you leave. you're thrown back into the 'real world', you're sleep deprived and a little delirious from the major changes and emotions. you begin to realize things you've learned but don't want to work too hard thinking because might as well let the changes just be then try to qualify and quantify and write them out. and you're sad to leave the people you've grown to love soooo much, but you know this is the plan and that hopefully you'll see each other and talk even though it won't be the same, but know that as much as it would stink if you didn't, it'll be ok. we had what we had and it's not coming back so might as well revel in the memories and walk into the future knowing things are different in a good way despite what happens next and God will not forsake.