I LOVED camp when I was a kid. It was the highlight of my year – every year. From the time I was 9-years-old I paid my own way to Sandy Creek Bible Camp. And as soon as I was old enough I went to work there. My camp years ended only after I graduated from college.
So, let me say it again, I LOVE CAMP. And when I say that, I mean: I have a deep, deep feeling of affection for this place called camp not just a “yeah, camp is a lot of fun, woo hoo!” kind of thing. It’s much deeper than that.
When I think back to where this deep feeling for camp came from, it is two fold. First, I loved the quiet time in nature with God. I really enjoyed the beautiful surroundings while I read my Bible and prayed. Years later when I was going through the hardest years of my life emotionally I would go to parks near where I lived and sit and journal. It mimicked the place I felt the most secure and peaceful as a child – camp. It was beautiful, serene and it felt safe.
The second reason I have a deep affection for camp is the people. There, I was surrounded with kids that were following Jesus in the same way I was. For me it was refreshing having Jesus be a word that, when spoken, didn’t make people cringe, walk away, or ignore you for days. It was a place where I could be me and not be “persecuted” for it. I didn’t have to hide my relationship with God there. It was not only OK to believe in Jesus but it was cool. Imagine that! Having come from a home where we were not able to freely and openly discuss our belief in God, camp was a haven, a second family for me. It was a warm, welcoming, comfortable and embracing space with people who loved me for all that I was.
I know camp isn’t that for most people. Take my husband, he respects my love for camp, but he doesn’t share the same affection for it I do. When I approached him for the first time with going to camp two years ago he agreed to go. I knew he was doing it for me and I appreciated it very much. He even got into some of the pre-camp activities like building the family boat for the wacky boat race. He was fully on board and I was really excited to share this experience with my family.
Our week at camp was very, very hot and uncomfortable, but went well for the most part until the last night.
That’s when the good times ended.
During the canoe races my husband volunteered to be in the “man of war” canoe race. All the brave men were doing it. And we don’t run from friendly competition in this family – we run TO it. It’s how we were made. There weren’t many rules for this race, just get your boat out and back with all your oars and men first. There were 4 men per team and 3 or 4 teams, I can’t remember. It was a real manly-mans race. And it got crazy.
I can’t remember if they won or not, it was all a bit of a blur. As the teams wrestled to get their boat to shore the top of my husband’s pinky finger was pinched off between an oar and a rung on their boat. It was a mad rush to find the piece of finger and get him to the hospital. A lot of blood, a lot of running.
I was scared, and I was crushed. After I got over the fear that he was never going to have the tip of his finger again I resolved myself to a life without camp. Right there in the emergency room I was devastated that I was never going to go to family camp again. How selfish of me.
I just assumed he was NEVER going to go back there. And who could blame him.
After the two surgeries that it took to re-build his finger we were finely able to joke about it between ourselves and good friends. But every time we joked there was a part of me that was so very sad that we weren’t going to go back.
I waited a year and a half and then mustered the nerve to just ask if he would be willing to go to camp again by chance.
He said yes! Without much reservation he said YES.
Before he had the chance to really think about what he had just agreed to I ran to the computer and registered us.
I know he did it for me. And I love him for it. What a gift. My husband is very thoughtful in general. He buys little things for me that he knows I like. He brings chocolate chip cookies home for me when there are some left over from a meeting he attended, he runs across airports to get my favorite Chicago popcorn on his layover, he reminds me to take my vitamins, he brings desert home for me when he has a work dinner at a nice restaurant and I sat home eating mac and cheese with the kids, he turns my shower on for me so it can heat up, he puts the toothpaste on my side when he is done with it and I haven’t used it yet, he starts the teapot for me to make tea. He is always doing thoughtful things.
Me, I sit in hospital sulking that I won’t be going back to camp while he lays there with his finger ripped off wondering if he will ever have a fingertip again.
And only a year and a half later he quickly agrees to go back again, for me.
Thank you, dear, I love you! Thank you for doing this for me because you know I love it. You are very good to me.
So we went again this summer. It was a blast, and thankfully, we returned with all our fingers and toes intact!