This week, a few things snuck up on us. The heat and humidity, surely has not. That heavy, wet air just hangs around like company that stays at the party a little too long. You can deal with it for a little while, but before too long it begins to wear on you. You go outside after some time indoors, and you feel like you’re walking into something not wholly air. There is more to this mass that you step into. As a staff, we stepped into the realization that the summer camp is quickly approaching the end. There is one week, after this one, with campers, and there is then the staff work week. Afterwards, Lakeshore begins retreat season. A group of staffers and I had this discussion that inevitably comes up this time of year: We are entering the “this is the last…” time in our summer. You can look at so many things for the next 2 weeks and know they will be the last time you do them. Particularly for some of our staff who may not be returning next summer, this can bring up many nostalgic feelings. You don’t really expect it. You kinda know it’s lurking out there, but you have no idea how it will affect you until you step out the door into it, and it wraps its heavy self around you. You decide whether to try to walk through it and adjust to what it is doing to your lungs or retreat back into the comfort of the indoors.
On Thursday, what I can only guess was a new system of fronts moved in. It happened in the evening around supper time. I was at the pool, and the whistle had just been blown for campers to get out of the pool. As we dried off, the wind picked up and blew strong. We rushed to close the umbrellas around the pool, because they easily could have been blown off to be found by someone across the river. It was a nice relief to actually feel some air movement. I looked up in the sky to see if storm clouds were coming, because the air certainly felt like they were approaching. There were dark blue clouds to the north, but nothing seemed to be moving over us. As I followed a group of about 40 elementary kids with their beach towels and brightly colored bathing suits, I looked out across the river, and it was white-capping like an ocean or Great Lake. The water was moving so strong and crashing on the shore of the waterfront.
I had planned to walk up to the Conference Center to go to the dining hall for supper. But, then I got the urge to walk down to the waterfront and witness the movement of the air and water a little bit closer. It took some talking into, because I would certainly have to walk up the hill to get back for supper. But every now and then, we reach these points in ourselves where we know we must put in the extra work for something not so tangible. I walked down the concrete steps that I would retrace later to the dismay of my calf muscles. My dog and I walked out onto the beach and onto the camp’s large dock and stepped to the edge, where if I positioned myself just right, I might feel like Peter stepping out onto rough and dangerous water. I felt the wind on my face. I was bounced on the dock by the water. I watched it pass me and come crashing against the concrete wall of our waterfront. I stood in the middle of the power of God–in the midst of the strength and danger and beauty, so strong and huge that I’ll never understand it all. In that moment, despite the consequences and danger, I was happy to be where I was.
Pray for our staff as they do God’s work very tired. Pray for the campers on their way very soon to our last week with summer campers. Pray for all those touched by the shooting in Norway, which happened at a youth camp.