“Today was going to be a good day”, she said to herself.
She always looked forward to summer, because in the summertime she actually got to go to her church ‘s camp for a whole week. Her church was an Evangelical Methodist and she was growing up in that little small town church. Everyone there knew everyone else and it was not formal but a casual place and where a kid had all kinds of things going for them. They had youth rallies and contests and competition between the other churches in that religious group. Churches span from her small town to another state or two. Her church camp was in Danville, Virginia. The name of the place where this camp was called “Indian Cave Camp”. There were caves there, to explore. There was also a fishing pond, a swimming pool, a place to play table hockey and pool and do crafts. They allowed the kids that attended this camp to write their families during this week away from home,and they would mail those letters for the kids. There was a canteen with which each kid needed snack or spending money for. It was a place where kids could come learn about God and enjoy life , just for a small while. Well, that was the intended purpose, at least.
Blue went here to enjoy camp life and make new friends, revisit her old pals and to escape the pressures of her home life. She really wanted a place to feel safe and for her, this camp was a limited safe place. She used the time away from her family to seek out what Jesus was telling her to do in her life and heart. She really looked to him for advice during those years when her life was hectic and sometimes scary and a whole lot crazy.
No one at this camp knew her home life and she liked that. She did not feel that she needed to share that with anyone, and she really just wanted to be normal. After years of going to this camp, she felt a sense of belonging and she loved it there. She loved it there not because of the many things to do or the many ways of fun the counselors could come up with, she truly enjoy being safe and cared for in that healthy way. At home Blue did not get that. She felt odd in her own place, she felt weird, like she never was normal.
Here was Blue on the bus, her things packed and her money was in her pocket. Oh! this was the day she had waited for, finally leaving for camp.
First thing Blue did when she got to camp was find her cabin she was assigned and then pick out her bunk and her bed. She never liked being on the bottom bunk because she worried about spiders and bugs finding her. Also, if you were the bottom bunk your bed always got dirty from the top bunk person whenever they wanted on their bed. It was just the simple things that added to the experience of camp for her. The only thing she dreaded about camp was getting into the shower house and having to take a shower around everyone, even those people from another church, that she did not even know. She was very much shy and would not undress in front of anyone and always stayed private about stuff like that. Some thought she was strange being like that , but she did have modesty and had no desire to be flamboyant or noticed.
Her favorite thing about camp was always going to the game hall and playing games and making crafts. She was not very good with crafts, but it was still fun for her, she loved having stuff to take back home with her. She also loved doing the Bible drills that the camp leaders had. They would call out a verse in the Bible and she would have a limited amount of time to find it, and there would be others trying to beat her in finding the verses. The winner would go on to compete against the winners past and would get a gift for winning. Sometimes, it would be a free swim in the pool, which was always fun because that was usually done after dark. Cool, right? Who doesn’t love swimming in the dark?
She also loved the night time with its bonfires. They would sing songs around the fire and talk about things going on in the camp and talk about Jesus, God, etc. Sometimes they would throw open a bag of marshmallows and roast them. Yum, that was the best. She had always loved watching fires since she could first remember. She was scared of them but at the same time she loved their power. She would often watch the fireplace with wood burning in it, back home.
Exploring the camp’s caves was really cool and she loved doing that. She would take a group with her sometimes and lead them through the cave, all the while telling the various versions of tall tales that circulated around them. Sometimes she even spooked her own self. It was neat though and despite the fact that they had crickets and bats in them, she enjoyed it immensely.
There would be a banquet on the last night of camp. This was when a king and queen of the camp would be appointed. All the campers voted on who it should be, She was queen one time herself. She loved going to this special last night because you got to dress up and go with your boyfriend or a person of your choice. It was almost like a prom but in a more toned down manner. She loved all the decorations and the music and the hoopla of it all.
She was noticed and acknowledged by name from almost everyone at camp. This made her feel special. You could see on the new kids faces the envy they had of her being well-known. She always went out her way to be nice, polite, friendly, and helpful. This made the counselors notice her. She was not very talkative but that was okay. Sometimes at night, when the lights were turned out in her cabin, for the night, she would say a pray for those kids that she knew had come from a hard home life and those she knew that were hurting. She knew how hard it was for some of them, most of them came to the camp without concession stand money, and some had hardly enough clothes to wear something clean daily. She would share her things and her food and sometime her money for those less fortunate. In her heart, she felt like it was what God wanted her to do.
One night during camp, the preacher was standing near the pool and asked if there was anyone who needed to be baptized. She listened carefully to the way in going about this. She had felt in her heart a little tug, as to be baptized but she felt she was not worthy to be. She felt inside there must have been something wrong with her, since she had such a troubled life. She often took the responsibility for the way she was treated, to mean that she did not deserve anything better than what she was given. It was hard, especially in trying to decide what it was that God was telling her. She still listened though. On this one particular night she witnessed her friends and others jumping into that pool, in front of everyone and even in their own clothes, and asking to be baptized. What was it that they had that she didn’t? She did not know but that wouldn’t stop her from trying to find out. She did not go forward that night, but that night weighed heavily on her heart.
The time had come to end this week at camp and she sadly had to say goodbye to her new friends, her old friends, and her counselors. She always hated leaving, she hated the fact that she had to go back home. She hated that she would have to go back to being Blue, in a house full of disdain and back to living with secrets that no one knew, or if they did, they did not say so.
She thought of this way…
Life was not like fairy tales, it did not always have a happy ending. It wasn’t about a person coming in to save her, and take her away from it all. It was about the fact that she would live day-to-day, moment by moment until she just couldn’t no more. Her faith in God, kept her from running away and it kept her believing that there still was hope. As far as living in her home with her parents and her siblings, well, less just say she needed a miracle to endure it and miracles only come true if you believe in them.
To be continued…
Thank you for reading 🙂