I miss Paris in the winter
If I journaled everything here that has gone through my head this week-end, well you would need a second cup of coffee. Hang on, I'll be right back. I have to dye my hair. I updated my memoirs if you want something to read while I'm gone.
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
I can’t quite remember, but it must have been winter in the mid 1980’s when I first heard of Springhill Camps. The buzz around church was that the minute you got your registration flyer in the mail and had picked out your child’s roommate...you better mail it in pronto if you wanted a spot for summer camp at Springhill.
Hmmmm let me think. A week without my precious, little, energetic, adventurous, sister-pestering, exasperating son. Sign him up.
And so when summer rolled around that year I carefully packed 5 pairs of underwear, 5 T-shirts, 5 pairs of shorts, jeans, sweatshirt, lots of socks, and 2 pairs of shoes, one of which could get wet.
Off we went to Springhill Camps. After subtracting my $20. deposit, my balance at the registration table was $49.
We sheepishly shook the counselors hands and tried not to leave prematurely. That week I prayed for them (the counselors) diligently. I wondered constantly how he (Benjamin) was doing. Was he cold at night? Was he showing respect to his counselors? Was he making new friends? Would there be any God seeds that fell on his fertile young mind soil?
I was resigned to the fact that if Ben came home with a positive experience we would happily become a summer camp fan family.
And so the day finally arrived (I actually kinda missed the little bugger) for me to pick him up. He came bounding up the hill from the pond behind the white house. In his hands was a gigundrus frog that he proudly poked in my face. He was dressed in the same clothes that we had dropped him off in 5 & 1/2 days earlier. After he introduced me to his new pet, he passed him (the frog) off to a friend and suddenly burst into the most horrified breath gasping cry I’d ever heard. The frog and friend backed off to find their parents as Ben fell weeping into my arms.
This is it. My mind raced ahead. I guess we will not be sending springhill any more campers, volunteers, TST’ers, counselors, summer or resident staff.
I try to comfort through the muffled gasps for air, “I don’t ever...gasp...gasp...cough...gasp...
Whoa! They better not have hurt my open minded, creative thinking, mind of his own, son’s feelings. Cuz, yeah I’d just as soon save the $69 a week once a summer if that’s the case.
“....ever....want to....gasp...cough...gasp....to go...gasp...
For one short instant, before my heart began to overflow with a special springhill size gush of gratefulness, I thought that’s a fine how do yo do to any affectionate mother’s heart.
He liked it..he really really liked it. We were hooked...in 5 short days we had become a springhill fan family.
20 years later on a very cold 2006 February weekend, during a Senior High retreat,we would finally come full circle at Springhill Camps.
It is amazing to see what God can do with a spirit that is totally sold out and emerged in Him.
Those brief 36 hours of my life spent on the 44th latitude will forever justify in my mind that; “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it,” is not only God’s truth, but God’s promise.
If you’ve never been...my strong suggestion is to get there. I don’t care how you get there, just get there if you can. There is a handsome, hard working, unselfish activities (could be running the whole camp) director that would certainly be able to give you a couple of volunteer weekend jobs. Ask for Tony. There’s a program director who is writing, performing, and making productions that are cutting edge, thought provoking and creative and could use a good editor, producer, and/or writing companion. Ask for Ben. There are retreats available with every kind of family combinations you can think of. There are John Deere tractors to drive and pictures to be taken. There’s tiny little camps, medium sized camps, and great big camps. I’m sure you could find one that is just your size.
I wish everyone could see and have their “What If?” questions answered. No wonder, my little 7 year old son came falling into my arms and crying that he didn’t want to go home. He was home.