these past few days have been very interesting. they’ve been filled with moments of awesome connections with campers, moments of frustration at disrespect, and moments of bittersweet as i realize all the lasts are catching up. overall they’ve been great, but i think the exhaustion is starting to wear on me.
between a combination of some intense poison ivy and some lower back issues, i wasn’t able to get in the water at all this week, which is usually one of the places i love to hang out with my guys, throwing them around in the pool and whatnot. then i had to go to the doctor during clinics and lunch and afternoon activities today, which meant that i had to miss even more time with my guys. i was frustrated and really annoyed at everything, but somewhere along the way i realized that God was (even week nine) challenging me to connect with my campers in different ways this week. i’ve been challenged to let go of resentment for misbehavior (i’m embarrassed to admit it, but it definitely happens) and love kids for who they are, because i know i wasn’t any better than them when i was their age. and i know that God looks at them with the same kind of crazy love that He does me. it’s been good to be reminded of that.
as usual, God totally turned my night around. because of my lower back, i wasn’t able to travel too far, so i stayed for the cookout that we have on thursday nights. it was easily one of the best dinners i’ve had this summer. i think it must have been the mentality that comes with being off and somehow feeling just a little less responsible for things, but for whatever reason i was just a little crazy. and it was really fun, because the guys could tell something was up (one of them looked at me hard for a moment, and then asked “brad… are you hyper?”). we had a blast, playing sand volleyball and trying out mustard-flavored watermelon and chilling in the gaga pits and stuff.
after dinner, i went up to scheumann and participated in the pathfinder dance party. i learned the hoedown throwdown for our country themed dinner tomorrow night, and james and i learned the texas shuffle. it was great. afterwards james and i headed down to the riv to get some stuff, when all of a sudden the weather siren goes off. i’d only heard it once before, during staff training last summer, and at first i didn’t believe it. but we went to the shelter in the nurses’ station, and met all the other cabins there. some of the kids were really freaked out, so we talked with them and played games and distracted everyone. the counselors here are rockstars at that kind of thing.
it ended up being nothing but lots and lots of rain, but we stayed below anyway til it cleared up. james and i joined a mafia game hosted by josh’s cabin. i love playing games that are so much fun with kids who have never played before, because it’s not too long until they’re so totally into it, and it’s just a blast to be there and watch. mafia is always a hit here at camp.
we were released about thirty minutes ago or so, and so james and i headed back to his duplex to hang out. the internet is a joke right now, so no pictures tonight. but trust that they’re colorful and full of smiling and having fun and all that stuff. it’s been a great night.
before devotions each night, we go around in a circle and share what our highs and lows were for the day. it’s a great time to get to know how each camper’s mind works and what kind of things they love and how they relate to others. my favorite is when a camper lists two or three highs, and then thinks for a minute before saying… “and i didn’t have any lows.”
tomorrow is my last full day with campers. i’ve decided that tomorrow, i’m not going to have any lows. i’m going to be the best counselor i’ve been all summer. when kids stubbornly do something that doesn’t match what i just asked them to do, i’m not going to get frustrated. i’m going to fill my days with conversations and interactions and connections, because all three can still happen on the last full day of camp. i’m going to thank God for everything, because literally every good thing comes from Him. and i’m going to be happy about everything, even if normally i’d be exhausted.
Christ is the One who strengthens me. no amount of caffeine or sleep or interesting conversations can do what He can. and with His help, everything i just wrote, idealistic as it is, can be done. so that’s who i’m putting my faith in.
tomorrow’s gonna be great.