This week marks the end of our Summer Programming. We have said hello and goodbye to many campers, families, and friends throughout this season. The “Hello!” was always exciting, and “Goodbye” seemed all too often like a small part of us was leaving.
In one of its’ most straightforward definitions, Camp is where relationships are encouraged, where strangers become family, and life seems less scary.
This year specifically, I held fear close as the camp season came near— fear for job security, health, campers, and staff, amongst many more.
This concern dissolved as the first smiling faces and sounds of laughter filled the property. (filled being a relative term – Filled within social distance guidelines of course!)
As I reflect on the strange yet simultaneously wonderful last three months, I recognize how thankful I am this year for the small things I have often overlooked. Both parents and campers’ eyes would show the marks of each early morning, but rarely was the exhaustion commented on, rather the parents and children would speak only with the excitement of the day to come! Eyes half-open yet with hearts and minds that couldn’t unbuckle the seatbelt and open the car door soon enough!
The truth is the laughter, smiles, footsteps in the gravel, late-night shenanigans, constant campfire scented hair, and all of the other tiny pockets of joy are all things camp has always had. Never have I escaped a summer without the burning sensation of eyes so dry from a windy night around the campfire.
Moments that have nearly always been there that I have never fully recognized nor had gratitude towards.
This year, with the unknown, unprecedented, unpredictable, or any other word meaning “no clue what the future holds.” I was so thankful for the gratitude I had forgotten to give. Each morning that campers were on the road, the staff shared a devotion over coffee, or the calm of the day hadn’t yet given way to the chaos driven distractions. I found myself saying, “Thank you, God.”
Thank you for the things I do not know or have yet to see, for the parents who aren’t morning people but drove to camp anyway, and the joys we got to share in the midst of the unknown.
Thank you, Father, for you are good!