A few months ago, I attended the wedding of a former Chosatonga counselor, Mitchell Webb and his beautiful bride, Betsy. Once arrived at the church, I found myself tightly packed in the midst of 3 or 4 rows of former campers and counselors. Watching these old friends arrive, one by one, there was the tense and eager excitement of reunion in the air! The former CKC dwellers are now pursuing their careers in the world. Lawyers, engineers, teachers, social workers, doctors, videographers, outdoor adventure professionals, nurses, etc, it was an impressive group! Looking into their faces, though, I didn’t see the sum of their schooling or their professional definitions, I saw my friends. I saw their countless stories intertwined with memories of laughter and the joy of watching their faiths grow in the midst of life’s struggles. I saw their beautiful and unique gifts played out in a sensational collage of so many recalled moments. It was a powerful encounter with the joys of our shared stories. I was floored.
Throughout the weekend there was this incredible excitement in reconnecting and listening to where everyone had been. How they had chosen their professional path, how they had met their spouse, how they had weathered the pandemic, etc. were all frequent discussions. I delighted in the camp community’s continued capacity to LIFT each other up and and to pull our the GOLD in each other. What a wonder!
To all the campers out there just beginning their journey, I wish to witness to the fact that life moves in mysterious ways. One moment, you’re on a mountain biking trip laughing with your buddies over the day’s adventures, and the next moment you’re at each other’s weddings. This is where the real “Trip Report” begins 🙂
Camp provides fun adventures and the growth in confidence that comes from acquiring new skills, but more than these, camp gives you principles of how to live as a “leader in goodness”, how to “adventure” in a grander and infinitely more beautiful sense, and how to love. Friendship is built on love and is born of love. Without love, then there is no friendship. This love and greater sense of adventure was gloriously present in the celebration of that wedding feast and in the groovy moves on that dance floor! It felt not a little like a camp dance. Truly, we were made for the sort of authentic connection, support, love, and JOY that was exploding in that room!
Let’s revisit our camp prayer together. You hope to have friends like this? Begin by BEING a good friend! We attract what you work to become. The simple invitations in this prayer include much of Jesus’ recipe for a really, truly happy life. We love you!
Oh God our Father, give me clean hands, clean words and clean thoughts. Help me to stand for the hard right against the easy wrong. Save me from habits that harm; teach me to work as hard, and to play as fair, in Thy sight alone as if the whole world saw. Forgive me when I am unkind, and help me to forgive those who are unkind to me. Keep me ready to help others at some cost to myself. Send me chances to a little good every day and so grow more like Christ. Amen.