That’s right. It’s the middle of August. A week and a half until my junior year of college starts, a week has passed since I’ve returned home from camp, but yet more memories have occurred in this past month than what feels possible — memories of joy, laughter, distress, exhaustion, strength, apprehension, and every type of emotion that exists within the human body occurred throughout my time at camp.
Camp. A place of love. A place of bliss. A place where kids go to learn about the amazing love that God has to offer them, to learn about giving maximum strength and maximum enthusiasm during competitions, to learn about others, to learn about themselves and who they are and who they want to be. It gives children the opportunity to love and to be loved by others. It gives them the opportunity to hear words of encouragement. It allows them to obtain both social and ambitious skills. My job as a camp counselor was to help these children gain each of these amazing qualities, and I feel as if I did my job quite well. However, I also feel that in the end these kids taught me a lot more than I could have ever taught them.
Their personalities were so diverse. I was over 11 and 12 year old’s for a month, each with a distinctive makeup of identities and charisma. It’s so true when people say that inspiration comes from the most unexpected places. Inspiration that came to me this summer was without a doubt the greatest inspiration that I have ever received.
Their backgrounds were different — some were Hispanic, some lived with their father and step mother, some were standoffish, some were the center of attention. Some were only child, some lived with six half siblings, some had night terrors, some were dealing with pain from a lost loved one. The differences among each child was extremely apparent, but yet so was the one similarity among them: their heart was beating. And as obvious as this statement is, I still have trouble understanding it at times.
What I mean by “their heart was beating” is this — they are alive. They are well. And, they are human beings just like you and just like me. Because of this, they deserved my all at camp. They deserved to be loved and encouraged, no matter how they acted towards me. They deserved to be complimented and told they were special, no matter if our attitudes were clashing at that point. Their heart was beating, and so they deserve my love. Their eyes gleamed for assistance, their hands reached for comfort, and their souls longed for tenderness. All I had to do was give it to them.
These children taught me that loving others is what this life is truly about.
I want my life to sizzle and my soul to only show joy. I don’t want to get wrapped up in receipts and money and makeup and style. I want my life to revolve around others and to help furnish their needs before I even begin to furnish my own. I want to always remember to forgive others in order for my mind to be at ease. I want to be kinder than how I feel and I want to laugh at every possible thing. I don’t want to waste this life that I was so tenderly blessed with so in return, I’m going to delight in living a life in which I live with an open heart — people will never forget how you made them feel.