Greg Laswell – The One I Love…
They show up at the parking lot freshly washed, outrageously over-packed, and equipped with fully charged everything. They come with the unique mixture of eager anticipation and nervous hesitation that precedes every camp. And when it comes to camps, there is nothing quite like the week-long variety spent in Colorado over Spring Break.
The next several days are all that one might expect at camp. The daylight hours are are filled with loads of fun. Hours spent playing on the mountain, at the game room, in the pool, or in the lodge. Large quantities of food are eaten. Laughter abounds as new inside jokes are formed.
At night, students gather for a meeting that is both fun and challenging. The odd juxtaposition of silly games, sillier skits, heartfelt worship, and compelling teaching somehow simultaneously disarms a student while confronting them with truth. They meet in small groups with an adult that cares enough to engage them in the difficult conversations. They are given time to reflect on where they are in life and where they are headed.
Upon their return home, they are as depleted as their dead iPod batteries. Pieces of what had been so neatly packed into very large suitcases can now be found back at camp, in vans, at gas stations, and even a little makes it back into their bags. They have consumed toxic levels of junk food as evidenced by the van floor turned trash receptacle.
They return with new souvenirs, new photos, new friends, and new memories.
But mostly, they return changed.
Somewhere between drop-off and pick-up, they have had an encounter. And that encounter leaves them forever marked. Often students have (re)embraced a genuine love for the One who loved them first. They possess a new desire to live a life that matters and isn’t consumed with the trivial pursuits that seem to pre-occupy most of their peers. Their commitment is sincere, and therefore touching. And whether they choose to hold firm to their newly found faith or find it waning as the months and years pass, they will always remember the feelings evoked in that timeless week away known simply as camp.