It is 2:30. No, not the 2:30 most of us find ourselves awake and participating in the normality of a structured and patterned lifestyle, but the other 2:30, and I really believe I am only three seconds away from being the next headline you will watch or read about in the soon approaching morning news broadcasts. There you’ll find me, my name forever logged in the tweets of notoriety, “Kids Camp Counselor Dispatched to Local Mental Institution.“
I imagine me lurching from my bunk, and what’s next isn’t appropriate for my site’s rating.
Maybe I ought to take a step back, at least to a few moments prior to this first night nestled in a room full of camping children, if for no other reason, to halt the alert that the last paragraph probably sent out to listeners monitoring in governmental backrooms.
I am no novice to the world of Christian Camps, having logged as a younger me many weeks both as camper and counselor, but I am many years removed from actively taking part in them. My children being grown, I guess you might say I am gearing up and securing a spot to be in these camps when my grandchildren get their first opportunity to go.
Enough of that though. You are here to find out why the men in white suits with butterfly nets are chasing me around a central Florida campsite singing “Don’t it make you want to go home…”
“Give that back to him,” “Stop hitting him,” “Get back in your bed,” “Turn off your flashlight,” “Quit screaming,” “Get out of his bed,” “Don’t throw things at the ceiling fan,” “Put the toilet brush back in the bathroom,” “Leave the AC alone,” “QUIT SPRAYING AXE!!,” “Turn the room lights back off,” along with a gazillion other rip-the-hide-from-the-back-of-my-throat nice encouragements left me trembling to the thought of, “This is just the first night!”
Has anything through the years fundamentally changed about camp, or even kids for that matter? No, not really.
Something is different though. I am very thankful that only me and God will ever know all of the thoughts that strike my sanity at this wee hour of the morning.
2:30, a pivotal moment in my life that I hope will insist evolving. It has led me to consider something that I think goes radically against the very foundations that I’ve built my older adult life upon. 2:30? Yes, a mere moment in time that for the last decade or so I’ve spent sleeping through.
Is there anything easier to do, and less meaningful, than to erect a lifestyle that eliminates exposure to challenges, especially those that snatch us from our norm?
Something is unraveling in this children’s camp dorm. Is it me? Does it really take nothing more than a room of younger me’s to send my stability spiraling?
I think it is only fair, not in an arrogant way, but an honest one, to share with you that most people who know me identify me as calm, cool, and collective (for whatever those terms might mean). What people see though is obviously only a hedged front; makeup that dons well when there are no storms. 2:30, whether I like it or not, was the proving ground for some serious examination. At 2:30, calm, cool, and collective left the building… why, hello Elvis.
Seemingly, I am a man who has built a personal campground that accommodates those things that elevate my own interests, welfare, and serenity (Shucks, there aren’t even any mosquitoes in my tent). This environment I’ve created, so I surmise, provides ample immunity from unwanted intrusions. Intrusive? Is that really how I label the privilege of a gospel opportunity? It appears so.
Yet, the Bible knows nothing of authentic followers of Jesus who ran from challenging intrusions, but found their peace and purpose through them in Jesus Himself.
My reentry into the world of camp counseling has revealed something I most surely would have denied prior.
2:30 defined who I really am; at this moment in time. This wee-hour encounter concluded, “You’re not even in the same universe as Christ-likeness yet bub.” Maybe it is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, maybe it can be a very good thing to learn, because it instructs, beyond Elvis and butterfly nets, if I am desirous to “Thrive” in Christ, who I can be.