June 20, 2015

Ketchup Stories

Yesterday evening I hand wrote what I thought would be this next blog post. I had stories and life revelations and lessons from God all tied up into a neat post.

Unfortunately that page is sitting on my pillow back at camp while I sit at the library. Oops.

But I think even in the hours after I wrote that my perspective is a little bit changed. Last night was the Stick Service, a special service the last night of every camp in which campers get to share what they learned and then throw a stick into the fire.

I remember doing this as a camper myself years ago. We were at an outdoor chapel and it started raining. Not enough for us to run inside soaking, but enough to put out the fire. I think I cried I was so upset that I wouldn't have a real fire to throw a stick into. Almost like I thought I needed the little twig to burn in order for me to actually have learned anything. But just as I was getting up near the front of the line to take my turn something happened and the flame just jumped back up and burned for a few more minutes, just long enough for me to share my tidbit of knowledge and watch my stick turn into ashes. Call me crazy, but I know God lit that fire specifically for me.

Now I get to watch these campers talk about their week. I get to hear child after child say "I rededicated my life to God" or "I gave my life to God for the first time" and I tell you, there is nothing better in the world than to hear those words.

Sometimes I think us adults undervalue the importance of things like camp. It's easy to brush these kids away. After all, how can a ten year old actually understand what it means to be saved from sin and rescued into eternity with the creator of all things? What does a twelve year old know about dedication? But we're wrong. We're so wrong, because these campers get it. They understand so much and so simply and sure, maybe some of the campers just want to hear the staff cheering and clapping for them, maybe they just want to go along with the crowd.

But so many of them know exactly what they're doing.

One day during lunch a little six or seven year old boy showed me a cross made by a french fry and ketchup on his plate. "It's a cross," he said. He scribbled around the red again and said, "Now it's Jesus." I smiled and kept eating, watching as he created yet another picture. "Jesus is gone," he informed me. Before I had the chance to say anything he continued, "Do you know why Jesus is gone?"

"Why?" I asked, curious about what his answer would be.

"Because this is the tomb. That's the stone, rolled away, and Jesus isn't dead."

Friends- that is the message of the gospel. That's the summary of my whole life. Why I'm at camp this summer, why I'm a Christian. Because Jesus isn't in a tomb.

This week I struggled with this whole camp thing. I don't like not having my phone- the thing that keeps me connected to so many friends who are such a huge part of my life. I don't like being always tired. I certainly don't like frantic camp disinfecting days when we have to wipe down every mattress because some camper or staff member got pink eye.

I was enjoying camp and loving the campers (especially the sweet Pioneer Campers who are six to nine years old and so tiny. Most of them can't even see over the counter in the General Store.) but I felt like my life was on hold. Even as I was praying or eating or talking to campers I felt like I was counting down the days until summer is over.

I don't want to live a life of waiting. This is where I am right now, and I want to be all here. My amazing friend from Mexico and England sent me a letter this week and I wish I had one of the quotes she sent. It made me cry (in the middle of a room full of staff checking out for the weekend) because it was exactly what I had been feeling.

The thing is, I may look forward to other things in the future- but I don't like in the future and I don't want to. God is working at camp right now and somehow He's working through me. Even if I barely get the chance to read and have written only one poem in three weeks and not a word toward my novel, this is still life and I can still make it awesome.

I have no good way to end this post and not enough time to hunt down a good poem to include. So, goodbye, see you next week with, I'm sure, some new cute camper story to share.

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