If you’ve been to any of the above, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do it justice. Ever.
Even at 27 when I think about those 5 days during July when I’d slip into what felt like the twilight zone for the most emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausting and exhilarating days of my existence, I get filled with such a nervous anticipation because I KNOW what’s coming for those about to embark on the week.
It’s amazing, exhausting, draining, a full array of emotions…. but nothing short of life changing.
I was summer camp junkie growing up. The summer before my junior and senior year of high school, I was lost in what felt like a 6-7 week vacation stint going from one place to the next with friends. If there was a camp option somehow I had convinced my parents that I needed to attend it. Even better was limited cell phone usage back then (no texting and long distance calls were expensive) so when I was gone, I really was g-o-n-e. Oh how I miss the days of no phones (at least sometimes).
I know life is suppose to get better with age and in many ways it has. College is apparently the best time of your life…and for a lot of reasons it was. However, I dare say, summer camps have safely secured a spot in my Top 10 favorite life experiences. Probably, even the top 5.
There’s something about uninterrupted moments with your friends and Jesus. No work, family and money distractions…and an endless amount of adventures that position you for the greatest heart moments. Moments with Jesus you didn’t know were possible or didn’t think you could have or that you even needed.
So many new experiences, so many memories, so many friendships all crammed into a few never ending days.
My summers gave me a chance to reevaluate how the previous school year had evolved and the upcoming school year gave me a chance to reset my perspective and goals as needed. Did I like who I was growing into? Did other people like her? Or did I need to shift things around and set up some new standard? Had I lost myself over the last 9 months?
Don’t you wish adult life gave us weeks to check out and reevaluate our life – heart, body and soul?
Each summer my routine was broken and with it the comforts I had grown attached to and the routine I had accepted as my norm was interrupted. My lil world would get shaken up in so many ways simultaneously, but always for the better in the end. The good and the bad would get shaken up at the same time and somehow that seemed to provide balance to it all. I’d walk away excited about the upcoming year, my soul overflowing with faith, my heart full from friendships – old and new, and my journal filled with pages of dreams and goals.
I still treasure those filled notebooks with message notes, a lil doodling, friends names, camp memories, and life goals and dreams I had at the time. It’s fun to see what your heart found important and wanted in different seasons. Many of those dreams came true, some I def do NOT want to come true anymore (haha!) and some are still nowhere in sight.
I imagine I’ll be 40, mid-July will roll around and my heart will fill with the same anticipation as it can sense God getting ready to move on hundreds of kids lives in ways they can’t even dream up yet. They will seek him like never before, he will make himself known in new ways, and they will be filled with God size dreams that will push their heart beyond its human limits. They will believe they can change the world and some of them actually will.
Life is fun with Jesus. And so is summer camp.