Saturday, July 19, 2014

Being favored...

WCYC- Gary & I on the bridge for the last time.
Well, I’m off again. This time I am at Wisconsin Christian Youth Camp. For the last twenty-five years or so, my family and I have spent at least two weeks of every summer in the north Wisconsin woods. This particular session is for high school students, seventy-five of them to be exact. They’ve come in every shape and size possible for 15- 17 year-olds, and from all kinds of backgrounds. Our thirty or so counselors have just fourteen days to learn names, play, and teach what needs to be taught. This session started in hyper-speed and has steam-rolled from there. It’s wonderful, tiring and life-changing for us all.
The first week has ended and the second week begins tomorrow. This year I’m teaching a Bible class and an improv class... my usual. It’s hard to explain how fun this all is. My Bible class consists of eight students eager to learn. Most of them are familiar with the text and have some thought-provoking questions of their own. They’ve kept me on my toes. And, my Improv class has been filled to capacity with twenty-six campers. For forty-five minutes, I do nothing but laugh. I’m loving it.
Of course, WCYC is yet another place I need to reclaim for myself. Gary and I always came here together. For years he was the director or a member of the head-staff. For years, I served right along beside him. Now, at every campfire I find myself looking around for his face. Every song we sing, I listen for his tenor voice. I expect him to come walking up on the hill every afternoon after rest period. I see activities he instituted being carried on by staff members and campers who never knew him. His leadership is still felt. The atmosphere of respect and responsibility he created, still permeates throughout the camp. Little phrases he spoke are being repeated from folks who have no idea from whom they came. Gary loved this place. I love this place and I feel strongly I’m supposed to be here. But I’ve got to tell you; it’s excruciating to walk under these pine trees without him. Hiking down to the creek and standing near the upper falls pulls my heart in two. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to pack up, get in my car and high-tail it out of here. So, why haven’t I?
Three reasons really. One, I love the people here. We have served together for many years, and I love meeting the new counselors (most whom are former campers) and working along side of them. Two, being around teenagers is a hoot. Their zest for life, their angst, and their vulnerability and tender hearts, after all these years, still melt my heart. And finally, God has called me here. I’m sure of it. He knows how hard this is for me, yet He still expects me to be obedient.
The bottom line is that I feel favored by God. Not the kind of ‘favored’ that gets me an extra scoop of ice cream or anything like that, but the kind of ‘favor’ that God dished out to Mary (unwed mother), or the Apostle Paul (shipwrecked) or Joseph (kidnapped and put in prison) from the scriptures. It seems when God favors one; they just might need to duck!
Sorrow and hardship have come my way, yet I’m beginning to feel myself respond with a stronger self than I would have ever thought possible. My days and nights are still laced with grief; however, they are also woven throughout with people and service I love.
I am favored.

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